Year after year, health is at the center of New Year’s resolutions across America. With the rise of wearable fitness trackers, barre classes, and clean eating trends last year, 2016 is already building up to be another health-focused year.
At BetterDoctor, we’re invested in creating a better health care system and encouraging people to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Last year, we brought you the fifty healthiest cities of 2015 based on our comprehensive data.
Now, we’ve crunched the numbers again to see which areas across the country promote the healthiest lifestyles for residents. Factoring in a city’s fitness score, health insurance options, accessibility to doctors, and quality of doctors, we used a data-driven approach to analyze the fifty largest cities in the United States.
The 100-point composite index factored in three key questions:
1. Are residents active and healthy?
We used the American Fitness Index to assess fitness and general health of the residents. This composite index is comprised of many variables, including exercise rates, eating habits, chronic health problems and disease rates, access to parks and recreational activities, and more.
2. Are high-quality physicians accessible?
We included the percentage of doctors in city that are highly rated according to BetterDoctor’s comprehensive, seven-variable algorithm as well as the number of physicians per 1,000 residents.
3. Do residents have health insurance?**
We used the percentage of residents with health coverage to determine how accessible medical care is in a given area. In 2015, we saw Boston top the chart with an extremely high number of doctors per thousand residents. This year, Minneapolis took the lead and Boston dropped to #3. Being one of the first cities with designated bike trails and banned smoking in public places, the Twin City area enjoys clean air and extremely active lifestyles, despite the harsh cold climates of the winter.
Check out the other top cities below:
2016 Top Ten Healthiest Cities
- Minneapolis, MN: Minneapolis boasts the second highest AFI score and is in the top five cities for the most health insurance coverage and most doctors per 1,000 residents, bringing it to top our list as healthiest city in America.
- Washington, DC: Washington, DC, with a high number of green spaces and parks in close proximity to residences, was ranked as the AFI’s most fit city.
- Boston, MA: Last year’s “Healthiest City” winner remains highly ranked with by far the most amount of doctors per 1,000 residents, thanks to a high density of hospitals and universities in the city and surrounding areas.
- Cincinnati, OH: Cincinnati jumped from tenth to fourth place in our overall health score, with a large increase in highly rated doctors and relatively high ranking in all other categories.
- San Francisco, CA: San Francisco, with its surplus of green areas, hiking trails, and hills, dropped just one place in the ranking and generated relatively similar data from the previous year.
- Hartford, CT: 92.8% of the population in Hartford has health insurance, which comes in at the third most of the cities. The city also ranks fairly high in all other categories.
- Pittsburgh, PA: With the fourth highest percentage of residents with health insurance, at 92.5%, Pittsburgh also boasts the second highest doctor-resident ratio.
- Seattle, WA: Seattle has a fairly high AFI score, percentage of the population with health insurance, and doctor-resident ratio combine to hold a top ten place on our list.
- San Jose, CA: Scoring fairly high across the board, San Jose has both beautiful weather and accessibility to the gorgeous nature of the Bay Area.
- San Diego, CA: With arguably the most beautiful weather in the country, San Diego came in with the third best AFI score.
Least Healthy Cities
- Memphis, TN
- Oklahoma City, OK
- San Antonio, TX
- Nashville, TN
- Riverside, CA
BetterDoctor’s Fifty Healthiest Cities 2016
|Rank||Metro area||AFI score||Percentage of the population with health insurance||Doctors per 1,000 residents||Percentage of doctors who are highly rated on BetterDoctor||Overall Health Score|
|5||San Francisco, CA||72.6||89.2||1.96||16.68||64.38|
|9||San Jose, CA||65.9||89.3||0.78||20.57||57.67|
|10||San Diego, CA||75.6||84.1||1.11||12.14||54.93|
|13||Saint Louis, MO||48.1||89.6||3.05||22.46||54.63|
|15||Virginia Beach, VA||57.5||88.2||0.53||25.97||53.15|
|18||Salt Lake City, UT||61.9||84.4||2.24||15.83||51.89|
|21||Kansas City, MO||50.5||87.5||1.35||22.79||48.00|
|27||New York, NY||50.9||87.7||0.35||21.9||44.00|
|32||Las Vegas, NV||47.4||79.1||1.38||26.49||39.97|
|39||Los Angeles, CA||52||80.3||0.48||11.3||30.17|
|40||New Orleans, LA||38.6||83.7||1.85||12.44||29.57|
|43||Dallas-Fort Worth, TX||38.8||78.9||1.13||20.86||28.20|
|48||San Antonio, TX||32||81.4||0.83||15.48||20.51|
|49||Oklahoma City, OK||29.6||83.5||1.03||13.61||20.23|
Not seeing your city top the list? Location isn’t everything. Minneapolis’s win shows us that even the harshest climates don’t necessarily limit us from living out the healthiest lifestyles we can. By incorporating activity into our everyday lives — whether it’s taking the stairs up to the office or planning a hiking trip for the yearly family reunion — anyone can take control of their own health by setting realistic goals and being mindful of healthy choices.
We obtained data from the American Fitness Index, U.S. Census, and used our own proprietary data for the number of BetterDoctors per city. We weighted AFI score at 40% of the overall score, the percentage of doctors that are highly rated at 20%, the number of primary care physicians per 1,000 residents at 20%, and the percentage of residents with health insurance at 20%. We included the fifty largest cities in the United States for this study. AFI score and health insurance access were calculated by metro area. Doctor access and ratings were calculated at a city level.