Ten of the Healthiest Cities in the World
Where you live has a huge impact on how healthy you are. Cities, governments, and organizations do a lot to impact the overall health of their citizens. We have compiled list of 10 of cities that are doing awesome things to stay healthy. How many have you been to?
The Pursuit of Happiness: Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen is known as one of the happiest places in the world. And while the city is a popular place for young professionals and ambitious, productive individuals, only 2% of the population reports working 40 or more hours per week. Some other possible keys to being ranked as one of the happiest countries in the world; free activities around the community, over half of the city commutes by bike. With 1.2 million residents, that is a lot of happy people.
Thank You for Not Smoking: New York, NY, USA
While not an obvious choice, New York City is doing a lot to earn its spot on our list. It is always working on its public transportation system. It has had a very successful launch of its bike share program. It is also working hard to rid itself of smoking. For over 20 years NYC has been at the forefront of an urban response to smoking and handling second hand smoke. So if you can look past the 8.2 million residents, an army of tourists, and all the noise, its a healthy city.
Ahead of the Game: Havana, Cuba
It is no secret that Cuba boasts one of the world's to healthcare systems. While political and ethical charges often cloud the issue, the numbers are clear. The island nation has a life expectancy rate matching the US and a better infant mortality rate. The government also spends just a fraction of the money that the US spends per person on health care. Prevention is their strategy. They spend most of their money keeping people healthy and out of the hospital. From small, local clinics to a nearly 100% vaccine rate, the efforts are focused on staying healthy.
Keeping it Fun: Napa, CA, USA
Napa, California's secret to health is staying active. There are an impressive collection of classes and organizations to attend, including all types of yoga, jogging, and dancing. And with the beautiful weather, why not get outsidea nd enjoy it? There is a keen social interest in healthy living and staying active. We cannot forget the wine either. There are numerous studies which demonstrate that wine, in moderation, can have positive biological effects.
Staying Alive: Okinawa, Japan
Okinawa Prefecture in Japan is full of old people. Okay, with a population of 1.4 million people, it is full of a lot of people. This particular community is home to the longest-lived population in the world. The average life expectancy for a man is 78 (10 years more than the global average) and 82 for women (13 years higher than the global average). Their secret? A great diet with little red meat. Lots of exercise. And low depression and stress. And they have a killer aquarium.
Racecars and Babies: Monte Carlo, Monaco
The small European country of Monaco is famous for race cars, luxury everything, and the world's lowest infant mortality rate. Only 1.81 deaths occur out of every 1,000 live births. Monaco has access to some of the finest healthcare equipment and medical training available anywhere in the world. They widely practice screening, education, and preventative measures throughout their 15,000 residents. The results speak for themselves.
Living Down Under: Melbourne, Australia
The Economist Intelligence Unit has named Melbourne, Australia as the most livable city in the world. Jon Copestake, a EIU analyst and editor says that,
“the reason Melbourne does so well in our survey is that it presents so few challenges to someone’s daily lifestyle.” The city is easy to navigate with accessible, clean, and safe public transportation. The city enjoys plenty of security and little political unrest. And the climate and geography enable and encourage outdoor activity.
Staying Old Forever: Jonkoping, Sweden
The Swedish town of Jonkaping is home to a fascinating project that is attempting to answer the question of how communities can best prepare for an aging population that will outlive all previous generations. The government operates what is now known as the Esther project. The focus of the project is to make city plans with a fictional character named Esther in mind. She fits the aging demographic neatly and allows the decision makers to plan for an increasing population of Esthers' real life counterparts. They are planning ahead and leading the world in being prepared to live longer.
The next time you plan on getting sick, move to Singapore. They have the world's most efficient health care systems, resulting in cheap, effective responses to medical issues. They spend only 4.7% of their GDP on healthcare as opposed to the 17.9% spent by the US. They key to the city-state's success is government control, regulation, and transparency.
Breath Easy: Vancouver, Canada
Canada's west coast city has a lot going for it. It has some great views, fun culture, tasty coffee, and very clean air for a city its size. With 2.4 million residents, Vancouver has a lot of potential air pollution to be concerned about. So far, their efforts have been exemplary and should set a standard for the rest of the world. The biggest impact has come from shifting away from cars and more towards biking and walking. Vancouver is the most walkable city in Canada according to multiple studies. Their commitment is so serious that they are the only major North American city without an interstate running through it. Very cool, eh?