Central Valley cities among least healthy
February 13, 2017
• Only two metros crack into the top half
• At least they’re not Detroit
Location seems to matter when it comes to health, according to a study of the nation’s 150 largest metro areas by the personal-finance website WalletHub, a unit of Evolution Finance Inc., of Washington, D.C.
Some places promote wellness by expanding access to nutritious food and recreational facilities, while others strive to keep treatment costs affordable for everyone or protect green space that encourages an active and healthy lifestyle, the report says.
“Absent such essentials, good health can be difficult to maintain, what with the rising cost of care in the U.S. and uneven standards for health education in public schools,” says the report.
To determine which areas prioritize residents’ well-being, WalletHub’s data team compared 150 of the most populated U.S. cities across 34 key indicators of good health. Its data set ranges from “cost of doctor visit” to “fruit and vegetable consumption” to “fitness clubs per capita.”
WalletHub says by those standards, San Francisco is the nation’s healthiest city. Also in the top five are, in order, Salt Lake City, Utah; Scottsdale, Arizona; Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon.
At the other end of the scale sits Detroit, Michigan. Also in the bottom five, in order, are Brownsville, Texas; Memphis, Tennessee; Laredo, Texas, and Shreveport, Louisiana.
Just two Central Valley cities make it into the top 50: Sacramento at 28th and Modesto at 74th.
The other Valley cities and their overall rankings are:
• Stockton, 120th
• Fresno, 131st
• Bakersfield, 136th
In order to identify the overall healthiest cities in the U.S., WalletHub’s analysts compared 150 of the most populated cities across four key dimensions: 1) Health Care, 2) Food, 3) Fitness and 4) Green Space. Its sample considers only the city proper in each case and excludes cities in the surrounding metro area.
It evaluated the four dimensions using 34 relevant metrics. Each metric was graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most favorable conditions for a healthy lifestyle. Some data for metrics were available at the state level only and therefore half-weighted.
WalletHub then calculated overall scores for each city using its weighted average across all metrics and ranked the cities based on the resulting scores.