Special Report

25 Healthiest Cities in America

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5. Rochester, MN
> Premature death rate: 227.1 (per 100,000)
> Adult obesity rate: 27.3%
> Pct. under 65 without health insurance: 5.6%
> Median household income: $70,078

According to the American Diabetes Association, 30.3 million Americans have diabetes, or 9.4% of the American population. Properly managing the disease is essential to keeping it in check, and Rochester’s diabetes patients are among the best at monitoring the condition. Some 94.0% of diabetes patients in Rochester receive the HbA1c test, a blood test that monitors blood glucose levels and indicates how well one’s diabetes is being controlled. That is the highest share of any other metropolitan area in the country.

Rochester residents also get to choose from a widespread selection of primary care doctors. There are 175 doctors per every 100,000 residents in Rochester, the highest concentration of doctors in the nation. Almost 90% of the area’s adults report being in good health, compared to the national share of 84% of adults who report the same.

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4. Boulder, CO
> Premature death rate: 212.0 (per 100,000)
> Adult obesity rate: 13.8%
> Pct. under 65 without health insurance: 7.4%
> Median household income: $74,615

Several factors contribute to Boulder’s rank as the fourth healthiest city. Nearly 97% of Boulder adults have access to places for physical activity such as a parks or recreational facilities. In contrast, only 83% of Americans nationwide have access to such places. Adults in Boulder are among the healthiest in the nation, partially due to their healthy habits. For example, 90% of adults in Boulder are physically active, the highest share among any U.S. metropolitan area. The high activity rate likely greatly contributes to the low adult obesity rate. Just 13.8% of area adults are obese, the second lowest rate in the nation.

Exercising regularly and keeping excess weight off can lower the risk of chronic diseases and ultimately lengthen one’s life. Boulder residents are much more likely to live past the age of 75 than all but just one other metropolitan area.

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3. Provo-Orem, UT
> Premature death rate: 257.0 (per 100,000)
> Adult obesity rate: 24.7%
> Pct. under 65 without health insurance: 10.3%
> Median household income: $69,288

Provo-Orem is the third healthiest metropolitan area in the country. Area residents report good health outcomes, such as a below average adult obesity rate. Area adults are also more likely to exercise — over 84% are physically active, more than the 77% of American adults who exercise nationwide. A strong majority of Provo-Orem adults also avoid unhealthy behaviors, specifically smoking and drinking excessively. In the United States, some 17.0% of Americans smoke and 18.0% drink excessively. In this Utah metropolitan area, however, only 6.8% of adults smoke, and only 9.9% drink to excess, both of which the lowest shares in the country.

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2. Logan, UT-ID
> Premature death rate: 233.4 (per 100,000)
> Adult obesity rate: 24.5%
> Pct. under 65 without health insurance: 9.8%
> Median household income: $57,414

Employment can be important for personal health as it often provides health insurance and removes the stress of not having a consistent income. In Logan, only 2.7% of the workforce is out of a job, much less than the national unemployment rate of 4.4%. Additionally, only 10.8% of area adults report they are in fair or poor health, one of the lowest shares of any metropolitan area. A key contributor in maintaining good health is to avoid smoking, and in Logan only 8.6% of adults smoke, far less than the national rate of 17.0% and the fifth lowest share nationwide.

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1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
> Premature death rate: 196.3 (per 100,000)
> Adult obesity rate: 19.8%
> Pct. under 65 without health insurance: 7.6%
> Median household income: $110,040

San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara is the healthiest metropolitan area in the country. Area residents can partially attribute their good health to financial stability. The median household income in this metro area is $110,040 a year, the highest of any U.S. metropolitan area. Earning an ample income makes it considerably easier to afford health care and nutritious foods, and high income residents do not have to face the unhealthy stress levels associated with poverty.

Adults in this affluent California metropolitan area also report one of the lowest obesity rates in the country, at just 19.8%. In contrast, the national obesity rate is 28.0%. Area adults are also much less likely to smoke and more likely to exercise than those in most metropolitan areas. They also report fewer mentally and physically unhealthy days per month than the national average. All of these healthy habits have likely contributed to the area’s low premature death rate. Residents die before the age of 75 at a rate of 196 deaths per 100,000 people — the lowest rate nationwide.