Healthcare Economy

America's Most (and Least) Healthy Cities

5. Madison, Wis.
> Physical Health Index: 79.9
> Obesity rate: 20.8% (16th lowest)
> Blood pressure: 22.0% (6th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 12.7% (tied for 66th lowest)

Madison area residents were among the most likely Americans to say they had access to basic needs that could promote good health. Nearly 90% of respondents said they had enough money for health care, medicine and food in the past 12 months, more than in any other metro area. Good access to basic needs, alongside limited poverty and a well-educated population, all likely contributed to the good physical health of area residents. Madison residents were among the least likely to have been diagnosed with diabetes — just 7.2% said they were diabetic compared with more than 11% of all Americans. And only 2.2% of respondents said they had been told by a doctor that they suffered from a heart attack, versus nearly 4% nationwide.

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4. Naples-Marco Island, Fla.
> Physical Health Index: 80.0
> Obesity rate: 16.5% (2nd lowest)
> Blood pressure: 31.3% (55th highest)
> Poverty rate: 13.8% (91st lowest)

Respondents from Naples were among the most likely people surveyed by Gallup to note that they felt well-rested and had enough energy to get things done, both indicators of good physical health. Another major reason the area was rated so well for physical health was the low obesity rate. Just 16.5% of those surveyed said they were obese, the second lowest rate in the nation. People also often indicated they practiced healthy behaviors that contribute to lowered obesity rates, such as eating well and not smoking. Three-fourths of people surveyed said they had consistently eaten healthy food within the past day.

3. Charlottesville, Va.
> Physical Health Index: 80.1
> Obesity rate: 18.7% (4th lowest)
> Blood pressure: 27.4% (64th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 13.9% (98th lowest)

Residents of the Charlottesville metro area were the least likely to report health problems that prevented them from participating in age-appropriate activities. Nearly 85% of respondents said they were able to do what similarly aged peers normally did, the most in the nation. Also, less than 19% of respondents were considered obese, one of the lowest rates in the nation, and recurring pain was also relatively infrequent. Both obesity and recurring pain are factors that can potentially limit people’s ability to participate in age-appropriate activities. Emotional well-being may have also contributed to the area’s overall good state of health. Respondents were less agitated by and large — more than nine in 10 survey participants said they were not angry at all in the past 24 hours, better than residents of all but two other metro areas.

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2. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif.
> Physical Health Index: 80.6
> Obesity rate: 19.5% (8th lowest)
> Blood pressure: 23.6% (13th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 10.8% (28th lowest)

Healthy behaviors likely contributed to the good state of health in the San Jose region. Barely 10% of area inhabitants identified themselves as smokers, less than in all but one other metro area. Nearly 80% said their health did not keep them from going about their day-to-day lives, the best rate nationwide. The area’s median household income of $90,737 in 2012 was the highest nationwide, and its poverty rate of 10.8% was among the lowest. Higher incomes likely helped residents take better care of their health. More than 75% of respondents said they had visited a dentist within the past 12 months — also among the highest proportions in the United States.

1. Holland-Grand Haven, Mich.
> Physical Health Index: 80.9
> Obesity rate: 23.4% (44th lowest)
> Blood pressure: 23.9% (17th lowest)
> Poverty rate: 11.3% (37th lowest)

Holland area residents exercised less than the majority of Americans. They were also less likely to eat healthy all day compared to most Americans. Despite unhealthy habits, however, Holland metro area residents were the nation’s healthiest. Nearly nine in 10 survey participants said they had enough energy to get things done the day before, better than in all but a handful of metro areas. Also, proportionally fewer respondents suffered from chronic pain than respondents nationwide did. Just 24% reported recurring neck or back pain, compared with more than 30% nationally. And less than one in five survey participants said they had regular knee or leg pain, also nearly the lowest rate in the nation. Like many of the cities with the best health, the Holland area’s poverty rate was significantly lower than the national rate.

Click here to see America’s Least Healthy Cities

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