Compared to other countries, the United States has a bit of a reputation for being unhealthy. The perception is that people don’t always eat right or get enough exercise and put on weight. They may drink too much or use tobacco and not get enough sleep. They may feel socially isolated.
These perceptions may be true in some parts of the U.S., but they are not true everywhere. There are cities where people are more likely to maintain a healthy body mass index by eating right and exercising frequently. They get plenty of rest and drink or smoke in moderation, if at all. They feel spiritually fulfilled and connected to their communities, friends, and families.
Here are some of the healthiest cities in the United States based on responses to surveys from residents.
1. San Francisco
While you can take cruises from San Francisco, once you find out how healthy it is, you may want to stay for a while. Nearly two-thirds of people in the City by the Bay work out at least three times a week. Compared to residents of other U.S. cities, people in San Francisco eat more fruits and vegetables, and it has the lowest percentage of cigarette smokers out of the 50 biggest cities in the country.
San Francisco profits from its healthy habits in more ways than one. For every square mile in the city, there are 16.2 wellness businesses. These include establishments such as spas, salons, and fitness studios, with dance fitness classes being especially popular.
Nearly half of all survey respondents from the Mile-High City expressed satisfaction with their overall health, and 40% say they are satisfied with their fitness level. This is nine percentage points higher than the average nationwide. Denver is a popular place for athletes to train because the higher altitude increases their endurance and teaches their bodies to use oxygen more efficiently. However, ordinary people in Denver are physically active as well, with 80% of respondents reporting that they work out at least once a week.
On average, 69% of Americans say that their relationships with friends and family are close. In Atlanta, that figure is significantly higher at 75%, making it one of the highest-ranking cities when it comes to social wellness. Atlanta also brings in the highest revenue per capita from wellness businesses out of all the cities in the country.
Texans are sometimes unfairly stereotyped as uneducated hicks. However, over half of the people in Austin, the capital city, are intellectually curious, reporting that they engage in mentally stimulating or creative activities on a regular basis. A similar percentage report that they drink six to eight glasses of water a day and get seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
Miami is like Atlanta and San Francisco in that its thriving wellness businesses bring in a lot of revenue. Sixty-two percent of Miami residents report getting a full night’s sleep, making it the most well-rested city, and more residents report going to group fitness classes at least once a week than in any other city in the United States.
Nearly two-thirds of all Seattle residents report going to see the doctor for a checkup on an annual basis. Nationwide, that figure is just over half. Approximately 80% of Seattle residents work out at least once a week, with group fitness classes being especially popular.
7. Washington, D.C.
The nation’s capital is also the capital of the healthy body mass index, with 81% of residents reporting that they work out at least once a week. People in D.C. also care a lot about looking good, spending an average of over $20 more per month on grooming and beauty services compared to the country as a whole.
Your overall health is a function of the lifestyle choices that you make rather than where you live. However, if you were to live in one of these cities, it might be easier to make healthier lifestyle choices.