The 5 Heart-Healthiest Cities in America
We've compiled a list of the heart-healthiest cities in America by highlighting those that lead the nation in some of the top categories affecting cardiovascular health. These five cities are presented in alphabetical order below.
City with the Lowest Number of Smokers - Anaheim, California
Anaheim is the largest city in Orange County, which is best known for Disneyland and the glitz and glamour of nearby Hollywood. People come from all over the world to try and break into the movie business, and Orange County is one of the hot spots for the rich and famous.
It shouldn't come as a surprise, then, that a city of image-focused individuals also boasts the lowest number of smokers. Smoking is known to yellow teeth and cause bad breath, not to mention the health effects it has on your lungs and heart.
Only 12.4% of Anaheim residents smoke, which is almost half the national average (22.47%). It's worth noting, though, that smoking is down across the board in the United States and should continue its downward trend in the coming years.
City with the Lowest Heart Attack Rate — Ann Arbor, MI
Ann Arbor is a beautiful college city not too far west of Detroit. It's one of the top-20 cities in the US when it comes to waste reduction and also happens to be tied with another city on this list for the lowest heart attack rate in the country at 1.3%.
For context, the national heart attack rate is 3.8%, meaning Ann Arbor has a rate that is nearly one-third of the rest of the country's. Healthy diet and exercise naturally help, as does Ann Arbor's unusually young population: 44% of residents are between the ages of 18-44, due in no small part to the nearly 50,000 University of Michigan students who call the city home.
City with the Highest Rate of Regular Exercise — Boulder, Colorado
Colorado is known for an exceptionally healthy population and Boulder is a shining example of that. In fact, they tied Ann Arbor for the lowest rate of heart attack in the United States. That's fantastic, but we wanted to highlight the city for another reason: regular exercise rate.
In a recent study by the CDC, people were polled about how often they engaged in intentional physical activity for at least 30 minutes. According to respondents, an incredible 89.1% of people in Boulder got some form of regular exercise outside of work or school. That may not be the only factor in their low heart attack rate, but it certainly doesn't hurt.
City with the Lowest Rate of Diabetes — Fort Collins, Colorado
Colorado makes a second appearance on the list with Fort Collins. This city might not be as well known as Denver or Boulder, but it has a stunning view of the mountains and beautiful trails that culminate at the iconic Horsetooth Rock Formation and Falls, which are not to be missed if you visit the area.
Beyond its gorgeous natural sites, Fort Collins also has the lowest rate of diabetes in the country at 6.1%, which is well below the national average of 10.5%. Diabetes is generally associated with obesity and too much sugar in the diet, both of which can have negative effects on the heart, especially in the long term. You can learn more about the two different types of diabetes and their effect on the body here.
City with the Healthiest Lifestyle — Oakland, California
Several studies dive deeper beyond medical conditions and look at the lifestyle of a given population. One of these studies examined several heart and health-related habits and factors of several US cities and determined Oakland to be the Heart Healthiest City in America.
They arrived at this conclusion by looking at the obesity rate, number of fast food restaurants per capita, number of walking/biking commuters, and the local healthcare system dedicated to heart health.
The Bottom Line
There are several factors that determine whether a city is considered heart-healthy or not. Those same factors can be applied to you. In order to gauge your cardiovascular health, it is important to understand your underlying risk factors so you can take preventive action, if necessary. Learn more about how Life Line Screening can help you understand your health through our comprehensive screenings here.