A new survey shows that big cities are a better choice compared to small towns when it comes to your health. Smaller communities are quaint and there are many advantages to living in a small town. But this new survey shows that there is a higher chance of living a happy, healthy life in a big city. It’s all about the things that a big city gives you access to. Things like sidewalks and parks, as well as good public transport. These features of big city life combine to give residents a higher level of health.
Five Big Cities Are on Top
A new report from Gallup and Healthways wanted to find the healthiest places to live in the United States. Five major cities in the US came on top. Neither would be easy to predict, since they don’t have an idyllic image. But these five cities scored high when it came to important health measures. The cities are Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, New York and Washington D.C.
The residents in the top five big cities had lower rates of obesity, diabetes and smoking. They also had lower rates of high cholesterol, high blood pressure and depression.
The study also made a list of the five places where these health measurements had low results. The lowest ranking in the study went to five other cities in the United States. Those were Tulsa; Indianapolis; Durham, North Carolina; Fort Wayne and Oklahoma City.
The two companies, Gallup and Healthways worked together to try and find elements of a city’s everyday life that promote better health for its residents. They successfully identified four key components and they all have to do with moving around. The four components to a big city are walkability, access to parks, easy biking and a good public transit system.
Smaller Cities Can Turn Things Around
Gallup and Healthways used the data they gathered to quantify what helps people lead a better, happier, healthier life. They concluded that the facilities that a big city offers makes it easier for people to incorporate healthy behavior into their living. According to their research getting enough exercise and access to green spaces is very important. Also, healthier eating and low levels of stress matter as well. These factors do mean lower rates for disease as well as longer, healthier lives.
Big cities have an advantage over smaller cities because they already have the infrastructure they need to promote a healthy lifestyle. But smaller cities can make adjustments and start offering more to their residents.
One positive example from the study is the city of Albert Lea in Minnesota. It successfully boosted its score from the previous report. Albert Lea added “more than 10 miles of bike lanes and new sidewalks, and enhanced streets to support walking and biking”, according to the report. Also, the city started programs to promote healthier living. It adopted policies that helped reduce tobacco use. Grocery stores and restaurants, schools and workplaces participated in programs that made making a healthy choice easier.
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