There are two ways to look at a great healthy city. The first and obvious way is to look for cities with the best health care in terms of access, quality and affordability. The second is to dive a little deeper into how the city promotes and enables a healthy lifestyle for its residents. For our Top 10 Healthiest Cities, we looked at both sides of the equation.
To find places with quality and affordable health care, we looked at data compiled by the County Healthcare Rankings as well as spending data from Esri. We analyzed several measures of healthy communities such as the adult obesity rate, the percent of residents with access to healthy food and other stats. We also factored in the number of hospitals, ratio of doctors to residents and more.
Then we looked at how residents are living in the space. Does the city have the right infrastructure to promote healthy living, like access to farmers markets and parks. Is the city walkable? Do people take advantage of that by walking and biking to work when possible? Are there man-made amenities, such as golf courses, and natural amenities, too? Additionally, we pulled in some data from the EPA about the environmental components of a healthy city such as clean air and water.
Finally, we looked over the data-driven shortlist to find a good mix of cities by size, geography and other considerations to come up with our best top 10. Check out our list of Healthiest Cities and see how we did.
10. Yonkers, NY
Positive influences are important, especially when you’re trying to stay healthy. With that in mind, Yonkers, N.Y., lands on our list of the Top 10 Healthiest Cities. For the most part, residents of Yonkers exercise on a regular basis, watch what they eat, and don’t smoke or drink excessively. The city fosters healthy living with many walkable neighborhoods and a collection of parks that encourage residents to get outside and get moving.
Approximately 98 percent of the population has access to exercise opportunities, which include yoga studios, fitness centers, sports clubs and golf courses. Fun fact: America’s first golf course was built in Yonkers. Untermyer Park, which overlooks the Hudson River, draws many people who come to walk through gardens, practice tai chi or hike through wooded areas.
City officials recently launched the Yonkers Green City initiative, which includes programs to replace street lights with brighter LED bulbs, and a Styrofoam recycling program. Many rooftops have been fitted with solar panels. When it comes to ratio of doctors, dentists and mental-health providers to residents, Yonkers ranks well above most cities.
A large selection of hospitals and doctors offices in Yonkers give residents many choices when it comes to choosing health-care providers. Yonkers also provides residents with many strong social support systems. Beyond the Yonkers Farmers Market, there are a handful of places to pick up fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables.