Although America is credited as the obese nation, we have some of the healthiest cities on earth. But what does it mean to be a “healthy” city? Don’t we have high levels of pollution and fast food on every street corner in America? Kind of. But not everyone relies on expensive juices, kale salads, and over-the-top fitness classes to epitomize ultimate fitness.
According to researchers from the American College of Sports Medicine, the healthiness level of cities is measured by obesity, smoking, and diabetes rate, as well as community and environmental components that allow better access to health care. Of course, many cities are cited as the healthiest because of the proximity to jobs that generate income (which correlates to a healthier lifestyle), gyms, health-food restaurants, and better health care. In rural towns, limited access to health care and healthy options may decrease your overall level of health.
“You can live a life filled with vitality and good health just about anywhere in the world,” said Claudia Wallis, editor of Time’s new book, Healthiest Places to Live: Lessons from the Top Spots for Fitness, Nutrition and Aging Well, “But let’s face it: it’s easier to do in some places than others.”
Despite where you live, we can learn a thing or two from these eight healthy U.S. cities.
1. Minneapolis/Twin Cities, Minn.
The No. 1 healthy city on almost every list is Minneapolis. Home of the Mayo Clinic, rated one of the best hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, some of the nation’s best parks, and high volunteerism, this city is bustling with healthy people. It is also in the top three most literate cities, has high wages and low rent, and is completely smoke-free. Also, studies have shown that over 83% of residents are active every single day.
Tip: Take advantage of your local parks.
2. Honolulu, Hawaii
The weather in Honolulu is heavenly, and I’m sure many roll their eyes this is even on the list. But aside from the warm weather, people from Hawaii have a cultural tradition of looking out for one another’s health and well-being, which is not only a wonderful trait to be known for, but is something everyone can learn a thing or two about. There’s even a law in Hawaii that says all residents must “think and emote good feelings,” a concept that Native Hawaiians call the “aloha spirit.”
Tip: Care for the well-being of your family, friends, and community.