If you’re looking to take your healthy lifestyle to a new city, maybe try Boston or San Francisco. The two cities lead the nation in active living, according to a report from the Gallup-Healthways State of American Well-Being index.
The index examines the active living environment within 48 medium- to large-size metro communities across the country and the associated relationship with various aspects of residents’ well-being, according to Gallup-Healthways.
Factors that contributed to the rankings included:
- Lower rates of smoking, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, depression
- Higher rates of exercise, healthy eating (including fresh produce)
- Residents thriving in physical well-being compared to residents in communities with low-active living infrastructure
- A city’s walk-friendly and bike-friendly areas
- The quality of a city’s public transit and parks system
“We use well being, which really means a life well-lived. We felt that wellness was really too focused on and had a physical feel to it. It’s not that having a life well-lived isn’t just about being happy, it’s not about being successful, and it really isn’t limited to physical health. These are outcomes of high well-being,” said Doug Stover, a senior managing consultant with Gallup, in a podcast interview.
Gallup-Healthways uses the definition of well-being to collect self-reported data and it focuses on the five well-being elements: purpose, social, financial, community and physical.
“It is the most proven, mature and comprehensive measure of well-being in populations,” the polling service’s website said.
Best and Worst Cities for Active Living
Gallup-Healthways used a new measurement, the Active Living Score, to evaluate each state. The best active living communities in the country include:
- San Francisco
- New York
- Washington, D.C.
Fort Wayne and Indianapolis, Indiana and Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma were ranked among the lowest scored cities.
Other studies conducted under the Well-Being Index included how unemployment negatively affected youth’s health in wealthy economies, the U.S. uninsured rate, and how millennials are improving key areas of health.
In 2015, Gallup-Healthways reported positive trends across the country, such as a decline in smoking rates and an increase in reported exercise. However, obesity reached a new high in 2015.
Hawaii was in its second year as the top state for well-being in 2015, with Alaska coming in second. Kentucky and West Virginia ranked 49th and 50th respectively, for the seventh year.
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index was implemented in 2008 and was designed to be “the Dow Jones of health.” The index is responsible for giving a daily measure of people’s well being and to determine the correlation between the workplace, community and how it affects a person’s overall health, according to Gallup-Healthways.
Tori Linville is a freelance writer and editor from Clarksville, Tennessee. When she isn’t writing or teaching, she’s faithfully watching her alma mater, the University of Alabama, dominate the football field.