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Healthiest and Unhealthiest Cities For Women

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control released its list of the healthiest cities in the US. Using gender-specific stats, Self magazine has created its own list of the healthiest and unhealthiest cities for women. The magazine uses almost 8,000 bits of data in 50 categories to create its ranking system. Some of the criteria are public health stats like death and disease rates, but it also measures elements of healthy living like access to parks, trails, and fitness centers, as well as air quality, commuting practices, and availability of farmers markets. This year Bethesda, MD, home of the National Institutes of Health, takes the top spot pushing my beloved San Francisco, CA, out of first place.

Here is the list of the other metro areas to make the top 10:

  1. San Francisco, CA
  2. Honolulu, HI
  3. Nassau-Suffolk counties (Long Island), NY
  4. Cambridge, MA
  5. Stamford, CT
  6. New York City, NY
  7. Santa Ana, CA
  8. San Jose, CA
  9. Seattle, WA

To see where the fittest women in the US live, as well as the least healthy cities, just


Fittest women: Santa Ana, CA
These ladies exercise vigorously nearly 30 percent more than the average woman included in the survey.

Healthiest hearts: Minneapolis, MN
Women in the mini-apple have low levels of hypertension.

Healthiest eaters: San Francisco, CA
Close to the some of the best farmland in the country, women in SF eat an average of 52 servings of fruit a month.

Most health clubs: Springfield, MA

Most likely to walk to work: New York City, NY

Now for the metro areas where women's health was considered the worst:

  • Detroit, MI
  • Gary, IN
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Toledo, OH
  • Oklahoma City, OK
  • Indianapolis, IN
  • Tulsa, OK
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Cincinnati, OH
  • Wichita, KS

If your hometown didn't make either list, you can check the stats of your town using a interactive map created by Self. I am going to go eat some fruit and map out my new bike route to work. What about you?


Join The Conversation
JenniferIsabella JenniferIsabella 8 years
i grew up and still live in nassau county (long island), but i go to college in washington dc (of which bethesda is just right up the road). there's never a day during which i don't see someone running or going to a yoga class. i actually got into baptiste yoga this past year while at school. this place called "down dog yoga" is really popular and there's a lululemon across the street from it. i'm really glad i live in such healthy cities !!
daniah daniah 8 years
Yay for San Jose! I always knew the Bay Area is one of the best places to live in the U.S. and this is only further proof:]
KMattes KMattes 8 years
Another shout out for Honolulu! I live on an outer island, but it's pretty easy to stay fit here too with our gorgeous weather :)
porkypocky porkypocky 8 years
what? Santa ANA of all places? now that's surprising.
plus_2_kid plus_2_kid 8 years
woohoo Honolulu! It is so easy to stay fit here. You always want to be outside doing something. I'm screwed if I move somewhere else - guaranteed I'll blow up like a balloon.
DevonJade DevonJade 8 years
Minneapolis! :D
darkoblivion darkoblivion 8 years
I am surprised my town isn't on the unhealthy list. (Louisville, KY) I work extremely hard to maintain a healthy lifestyle and it's very difficult here. It seems like I work harder at it here than anywhere else I've lived. Limited groceries, horrible restaurants, generally unhealthy people in the community, etc. There are several parks around here though which is a definite plus!
andrealocke andrealocke 8 years
YAY Bethesda! I work there right now.
Martini-Rossi Martini-Rossi 8 years
NYC is best for walking, I love it.
jeffleeismyhero jeffleeismyhero 8 years
Baton Rouge AND New Orleans, Louisiana were on the list. Wow. I thought New Orleans would be in the top 10 worst states but I was very wrong. I know we have some very bad eating habits here but I guess the study found worse. I can hardly believe it, there are some extremely unhealthy women here. Bad healthcare options for the low income, horribly unhealthy eating habits, and lots of alcohol consumption make Louisiana's women very "at risk."
Mila_83 Mila_83 8 years
New York City...#7 on the healthiest list. Not bad. Best city for walking!
kia kia 8 years
So surprised Denver is not on this list. Where I live in Boulder, there are some super fit mo-fo's around.
kappenbrink kappenbrink 8 years
I grew up in one of the least healthy cities and now live in one on the healthiest list. I think my habits reflect it too.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 8 years
I'm planning to move to Bethesda soon, so good to know!
Keke84 Keke84 8 years
Hmm, I lived in Bethesda for a year and actually lost 30 pounds up there after college. I'll agree with their statements. :)
kkatt kkatt 8 years
Oh, the midwest... not doing too well :P
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