Top 10 Healthiest in U.S.
WalletHub, a personal finance website that crunches civic data to create a wide variety of lists, recently released its “2019’s Healthiest and Unhealthiest Cities in America” ranking.
Irvine was named the 10th-healthiest city in the country as part of the study. To identify the places where health is a priority, WalletHub compared more than 170 of the largest U.S. cities across 42 key metrics. The data set includes the cost of a medical visit, fruit and vegetable consumption and fitness clubs per capita, among many other factors.
The top 10 cities out of the more than 170 studied are San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego, Portland, Washington, D.C., New York City, Denver, Honolulu, Scottsdale and Irvine.
The least-healthy city in the U.S. out of those studied? Brownsville, Texas.
A closer look at where Irvine ranks in the numerous categories used for the WalletHub study is intriguing.
The highest rankings for the city include second in the nation for highest percent of physically active adults. Seattle ranked first. We were also second best for percentage of obese adults. All that physical activity, no doubt. Another high ranking: we’re 9th best in the percentage of adults who checked their cholesterol in the past five years.
Irvine has the third-lowest rate of premature death in the country according to the study, which makes sense given the physical activity and obesity rankings.
The two cities where fewer years of potential life are lost than Irvine are San Jose, CA, and Yonkers, NY. The category is given triple weight in the overall score, helping push Irvine into the 10th place overall.
Our excellent parks are among the reasons we’re one of the healthiest cities in the nation. The WalletHub report ranks us 5th in the country in the quality of our parks, based mainly on how much we spend on them per capita.
We’re 4th in the country for how “green” a city we are. Environmental factors, they mean. Not the nice hue of our hillsides with all the rain we’ve been having.
Irvine ranks 21st for parkland acres per capita, which seems a bit low. Perhaps those stats were compiled before some of the Great Park Sports Park acres opened. The study says we have 22 parkland acres per capita. We’ll let someone else check their math.
What about the categories in which Irvine did not earn winning marks?
According to the WalletHub study, the city ranks at 170th in the study for hospital beds per capita.
Maybe we’re so healthy we don’t need as many hospital beds?
Irvine ranks toward the middle of the pack in gourmet/specialty food stores per capita (85) and Farmers Markets per capita (46th). Quality over quantity in this category. We’d put the Irvine Farmers Market at Mariner’s Church up against all the best farmers markets in the country.
Plus, we do much of our organic and gourmet shopping at our many markets, including Whole Foods, Mother’s, Sprouts, Wholesome Choice, Zion, Mistsuwa, H Mart, Trader Joe’s and Gelson’s. Those should count as gourmet food stores if they don’t already!
Another odd category disparity: Irvine earns a bike score of 7th in the nation but a walking score of 70. Even more confusing are these rankings:
Hiking trails: 17th
Running trails: 34th
Walking trails: 23rd
Most if not all of the trails in the city would be included in all three categories, one would think. On the other hand, those are high scores compared to most of the 170 other cities.
So let’s all get our cholesterol checked, go for a hike, bike or run, and eat some healthy food so we break the top 5 in the nation on the next study.