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Big Cities Healthier? Happier, Too, Gallup Finds

Big Cities Healthier? Happier, Too, Gallup Finds

A recent study by Gallup and Healthways found that amentities in big cities helped them score higher on a well-being survey. (Martinmark/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Wednesday, 12 October 2016 01:25 PM

Are big cities healthier? Public amenities like sidewalks, parks, and good public transportation helped larger metropolitan areas score high in a well-being study released Tuesday by Gallup and Healthways.

Some 149,938 residents in nearly 50 communities across the country were interviewed as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index from Jan. 2, 2014, through Dec. 30, 2015. Then Gallup and Healthways created an Active Living Score for the metro areas by analyzing metropolitan infrastructure data.

The report found that communities that made the greatest investment in supporting active lifestyles had residents who did better in those key well-being aspects.

The Boston and San Francisco metropolitan areas ranked the highest in their overall infrastructure to support active living. Those areas were followed in the top five by Chicago, New York and Washington, D.C., noted Gallup.

Indiana (Fort Wayne and Indianapolis) and Oklahoma (Oklahoma City and Tulsa) each placed two cities in the bottom five for active living communities. The Durham-Chapel Hill, North Carolina, metropolitan area made up the other city in the bottom five active living communities.

"Across 48 communities studied nationwide, residents in the five highest-ranked active living communities have, on average, significantly lower obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and rates of depression than do residents of communities with comparatively little active living infrastructure," the report said. "They also report better exercise habits and lower levels of smoking."

Dr. Roy Buchinsky, director of Wellness at University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, who was not involved in the report, told ABC News that the study shows that a healthy lifestyle is the best medicine for well-being.

"Clearly it has an effect on many issues we are faced with today including obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure," Buchinksky said to ABC News. "It truly shows that evidence-based changes to the environment and to our daily lifestyle can make small little changes, (which) can make a huge impact."

Buchinksky told ABC News that the study also confirms why rethinking infrastructure and the development in our cities and metro areas can be a key factor in improving the health of the country.

"Sustainable, lasting well-being becomes achievable when residents, city leaders, businesses, schools, and other partners work together to the benefit of public health," Katrina Worlund, senior vice president of the Blue Zones Project at Healthways, said in a statement. "In addition to healthier populations, communities benefit by lower healthcare costs, less chronic disease and improved productivity."

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Are big cities healthier? Public amenities like sidewalks, parks, and good public transportation helped larger metropolitan areas score high in a well-being study released Tuesday by Gallup and Healthways.
big cities, healthier, happier, gallup
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2016-25-12
Wednesday, 12 October 2016 01:25 PM
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