7 States With the Healthiest Men in America
There are a lot of things that ultimately determine how healthy you are. In addition to the standards — like diet and exercise — intangibles such as household earnings, access to healthy food, and even your occupation can play a big part in how healthy of a lifestyle you’re able to live. And, as a result, some parts of the country tend to be havens of health, at least more so than others.
For men in particular, there are a small handful of states that outshine the rest. By crunching some numbers, we were able to develop a list of the healthiest states for men in the U.S.
In order to develop the rankings, we had to dig rather deep, but settled on using three primary metrics: obesity rates, the well-being index, and health club participation rates. Naturally, there are a lot of other things that play into an overall healthy lifestyle, and each individual’s circumstances will dictate things in the end. But by looking at these primary metrics — which do fold a lot of smaller details within them, like access to healthy food and parks, etc. — we came up with a short-list of seven states.
We use Gallup’s data for obesity rates of all 50 states, as well as its well-being index, both of which are released annually. For health club participation rates, we had to use some slightly-dated information from 2010, put out by the International Health, Racquet & Sportsclub Association, which can be found in a Huffington Post article from the same time.
For each states on the following pages, you can see the three metrics listed, and the state’s respective rankings for that given metric.
So, without further ado, here are the seven healthiest states for men, as determined by the aforementioned qualifiers.
7. South Dakota
Obesity – 43
Fitness Club Membership – N/A
Well-Being – 3
The northern plains and Black Hills of South Dakota are home to low unemployment and a low cost of living. The result is a high score in the well-being index. With an influx of men coming to work in the energy industry, high salaries and low cost of living has definitely made South Dakota a good place to be — for both mental and physical health. South Dakotan men also rank very low in obesity, though data wasn’t available for fitness club participation. But you can bet that all that wide open space provides plenty of opportunity for recreation.
Obesity – 45
Fitness Club Membership – 25.1%
Well-Being – 17
Massachusetts had the highest fitness club participation rate in the country, according to the data we looked at. And as a result, the state is very fit, ranking 45th out of 50 in terms of obesity rates. The one ding against this New England state is that it ranked 17th in the well-being index. That’s still within the top echelon of states, but not as great as some of the other entries on this list. Perhaps it’s the cold weather and traffic?
Obesity – 39
Fitness Club Membership – 19.4%
Well-Being – 8
The men of Utah have it pretty good. Not only is their state a mecca for outdoors-lovers and National Park buffs, but it’s generally one of the more easy-going places you’ll ever visit — even in its capital and largest city, Salt Lake City. Just under 20% of the population has a fitness club membership, and Utah ranks just outside the top ten in terms of the least-obese states. Well-being ranked pretty high, however, at number eight.
Obesity – 42
Fitness Club Membership – 20.3%
Well-Being – 11
One look at the photo above, and you’ll probably think that Minnesota is an ice-encrusted tundra, where there’s nothing to do but drink beer and eat cheese. You couldn’t be more wrong (the ice-encrustation is accurate sometimes), as the men of Minnesota are hitting the gym in high numbers, are lean and fit, and score pretty high in terms of well-being. Yes, there’s still plenty of beer and fun to be had, but Minnesotans take their health seriously as well.
Obesity – 50
Fitness Club Membership – N/A
Well-Being – 2
Hawaiians have it pretty good. Think about it — no winter, inescapable natural beauty, and tons of fresh fruits and vegetables, along with seafood, all helping you stay active and keeping your diet on track. That’s one of the big reasons that Hawaii is the least-obese state in the nation, and is number two in well-being. It’s evidently easy to stay on top of your health in an island paradise. The only knock we have is that there was no data for fitness club membership rates, though the other two metrics were enough to put Hawaii among the top three.
Obesity – 47
Fitness Club Membership – 20.8%
Well-Being – 12
It’s not quite Hawaii, but California is another place that is warm, beautiful, and has a very fit group of residents. More than one-fifth of Californians are members of a gym and fitness club (number two in the country, behind Massachusetts), and they are the third least-obese. Well-being ranks just outside the top ten, with anyone having tried to drive around Los Angeles or San Francisco probably making a strong case as to why. Overall, California is a great place to be a man.
Obesity – 49
Fitness Club Membership – 21%
Well-Being – 6
Fellas, if you want to live the ultimate healthy lifestyle, the plains, deserts, and Rocky Mountains of Colorado are where you want to be. Colorado ranks extremely high in all three of our main metrics, and has an abundance of state and National Parks, outdoors activities, and all kinds of recreation. Fresh fruits and veggies are abundant, and you can even get a bison burger without much effort. For the nation’s healthiest men, look to Colorado.
Follow Sam on Twitter @Sliceofginger