Texas, How Healthy Are Your Cities?

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Does where you live impact how healthy you are? While many may think the answer is an obvious yes, the more subtle question is how. How does location play a role in your health? A recent study conducted by WalletHub determined the healthiest cities in the United States.

The study compared the 150 largest cities in the United States across 34 domains to determine the rankings. Some of the main categories included: Health Care, Cost of Care, Green Space, and Food. Let’s see how these cities stacked up and where Texas falls among the rankings.

Get your health food.

Photo: Flickr/with wind

San Francisco received the highest ranking overall, scoring #1 in the food category and #3 in the available green space category. Rounding out the top five were Salt Lake City, Utah (#2), Scottsdale, Arizona (#3), Seattle, Washington (#4), and Portland, Oregon (#5). Scottsdale also received the highest rank for fitness, which unofficially makes it the fittest city in the United States.

Looking at the bottom of the list, Detroit was ranked the lowest at #150. It was rated at #148 in both fitness and health care. Rounding out the bottom five were Brownsville, Texas (#149), Memphis, Tennessee (#148), Laredo, Texas (#147) and Shreveport, Louisiana (#146).

As far as Texas cities go, you’ve seen that both Brownsville and Laredo were ranked in the bottom five. Corpus Christi and El Paso both also received low rankings at #145 and #139 on the list. Plano received the highest ranking at #26 overall and also was ranked #9 in the Health Care category. Austin came in at #32 overall, Dallas faired at #111 and Houston came in at #121.

One non-so flattering statistic for Texas was that all five of the lowest ranking cities in the number of mental health care counselors per capita were Texas cities. Corpus Christi also received the lowest ranking for number of healthy restaurants per capita.

Green in the city.

Photo: Flickr/sookie

According to the study, Texas ranks fairly low on the overall health scale. What can Texans do to make their cities more healthy? According to Lynn A. Blewett a Professor of Health Policy and Management at the University of Minnesota suggests that cities with more space for outdoor activities should take priority. “I think the most important factors are to look for a place where you can get outdoors and exercise,” Blewett said.

There you have it, Texas. For healthier cities, you need to opt-in for more green space.