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Demographics & Statistics Diet Environment Exercise

2023’s Unhealthiest Cities In America

1 year ago

12148  0
Posted on Apr 14, 2023, 12 p.m.

Location, location, location, as it turns out location is more important than you may think. Research is revealing that where you live can actually play a substantial role in how healthy you are. It is true that some cities invest very heavily to try and make sure that the residents don’t get sick, but that is not the case everywhere in America. According to the WalletHub Study, a surprising amount of cities within the United States are falling behind in areas relating to health and wellness, especially in the southern portions of the country.

This study of the nation’s 182 most heavily populated cities revealed that Brownsville, Texas is the unhealthiest city within America across 43 key metrics which included but was not limited to the cost of a medical visit, as well as the amount of fruits and vegetables residents consume. With a population of around 186,000 residents this U.S-Mexico border city ranks the lowest in Food and Fitness scores, ranks 172 in terms of Green Spaces, and also ranks 169 for Healthcare. 

After Brownsville, Texas ranking 182, Gulfport, Mississippi takes spot 181, Shreveport, Louisiana placed 180, Columbus, Georgia came in at 179, and Augusta, Georgia was 178 to round off the top 5 of the unhealthiest cities to live in America. Columbus, Georgia ranks as being the city with the worst Healthcare score in the country, this score accounts for several factors such as the rate of premature death, mental health, cost of medical care, and the number of residents with insurance. 

When it comes to Green spaces you may think that big cities such as Los Angeles and New York may not have a lot to offer and would be in the bottom rankings, but as it turns out Montgomery, AL ranks last in terms of park quality, access to recreation, hiking trails per capita, and the overall greenness of the city. After Montgomery’s ranking at 182, Augusta, GA placed 181, Charleston, WV ranked 180, followed by Fort Wayne, IN at 179, and Winston-Salem, NC rounds of the five cities with the worst Green spaces. San Francisco, California has the best Green Spaces according to this study.

Along with everything else, medical bills are continuing to increase in 2023, as such the average employer-provided healthcare plan costs around 5.6% more. The results revealed that residents of Alaska pay the most for a medical visit with Juneau and Anchorage sharing the spot for the highest cost for visiting a doctor’s office in the country. Visiting a physician will also take a big chunk out of your wallet in Wisconsin with the most expensive cities in that state found to be Madison ranking 180 and Milwaukee coming in at spot 178. On the flip side, the residents in Brownsville, Texas appear to be getting the second cheapest medical bills despite it being the unhealthiest city in the nation, and Laredo, Texas was found to have the cheapest. 

Those wanting to have a long and happy life may want to avoid Baltimore, Maryland, it appears that the city doesn’t have any charm for that desire as it has the worst rate of premature death in America. But Baltimore shares that undesirable spot with two other neighboring cities in West Virginia, Huntington and Charleston. Finishing off the bottom of this list are St. Louis, Missouri and Augusta, Georgia which are all tied sharing spot 178 in the rankings. San Jose, California has the lowest premature death rate in this study. 

“For those with specific medical conditions, it is important to consider whether you can easily access the medical care you need. For more general health concerns, one of the most important things to look for is whether the city allows getting outside and exercising. Are there green spaces, parks, and/or safe streets with sidewalks? Also, health is as much about mental and emotional well-being as it is about physical well-being, so it is also important to reflect on whether this is a city where you can feel at home. Is it close to friends and family who enhance your life? Is it the kind of place where you can readily incorporate your passions and preferences (or hobbies) into your daily life?” says Amy McGuire, JD, Ph.D., of Baylor College of Medicine, in a statement.

If you are trying to improve your health with a new diet and are looking for some healthier places to eat, you are probably going to have to look hard if you live in Grand Prairie, Texas because this city ranked last (182) in terms of the number of healthy restaurants per capita. But this city is not the only place with very few fresh and nutritious places to eat, Aurora, Illinois ranked 176, North Las Vegas, Nevada took spot 175, Rapid City, South Dakota came in at 174, and Hialeah, Florida ranked 173. 

If you are looking to live in a city that has good fitness as a priority you should probably avoid Brownsville, Texas which ranked 182 in fitness, Laredo, Texas ranked 181, North Las Vegas, Nevada came in at 180, Shreveport, Louisiana took spot 179, and Huntington, West Virginia rounds of the list at 178 for the cities with the worst fitness. Alternatively, Scottsdale, Arizona ranks first, Raleigh, North Carolina is second, and Chandler, Arizona is third. 

Hialeah, Florida also ranks at the bottom of the rankings for the city that is the most physically inactive/sedentary in America. When it comes to looking for places to exercise, residents of Alaska may want to take advantage of the outdoors or do it at home if they are trying to keep costs down because the price of a fitness club membership was found to be the highest in the city of Juneau which surprisingly beats New York City. But Juneau wasn’t the only pricey city in Alaska as Anchorage also made the list of the most expensive gym memberships. 

Here’s how all of the182 most populated cities in America ranked in this study:

Overall Rank 

City

Total Score 

Health Care 

Food 

Fitness 

Green Space 

182

Brownsville, TX

25.72

169

182

182

172

181

Gulfport, MS

28.19

166

179

174

177

180

Shreveport, LA

28.31

170

181

179

163

179

Columbus, GA

29.05

182

175

170

171

178

Augusta, GA

30.20

167

167

175

181

177

Montgomery, AL

30.51

161

180

142

182

176

Memphis, TN

31.39

179

173

146

168

175

Fayetteville, NC

31.57

125

176

168

176

174

Laredo, TX

31.62

152

178

181

130

173

Corpus Christi, TX

32.60

180

161

159

158

172

Detroit, MI

32.97

181

125

176

154

171

Fort Smith, AR

32.98

160

162

177

165

170

North Las Vegas, NV

33.12

178

164

180

106

169

Charleston, WV

33.20

141

158

160

180

168

Huntington, WV

33.29

173

138

178

153

167

Amarillo, TX

33.75

177

163

161

141

166

Winston-Salem, NC

34.54

100

172

116

178

165

Toledo, OH

34.56

176

152

165

120

164

Jackson, MS

35.18

117

154

153

175

163

Baton Rouge, LA

35.36

162

174

133

128

162

Garland, TX

35.95

155

146

167

118

161

Las Cruces, NM

36.05

77

177

169

129

160

Fort Wayne, IN

36.16

156

135

92

179

159

Fontana, CA

36.23

146

143

163

127

158

Wichita, KS

36.72

149

165

77

164

157

Lubbock, TX

37.12

171

170

83

148

156

Mobile, AL

37.36

163

142

99

174

155

Grand Prairie, TX

37.49

128

153

173

53

154

Greensboro, NC

37.51

93

150

90

173

153

Newark, NJ

37.63

175

75

162

134

152

Moreno Valley, CA

37.69

142

127

171

105

151

Arlington, TX

37.96

110

151

127

147

150

Irving, TX

38.11

153

137

107

145

149

Chattanooga, TN

38.22

128

168

130

77

148

Hialeah, FL

38.40

107

69

172

159

147

San Bernardino, CA

38.54

174

111

166

70

146

Bakersfield, CA

38.56

168

126

144

100

145

Port St. Lucie, FL

38.64

135

124

122

170

144

Norfolk, VA

38.85

44

128

154

155

143

Little Rock, AR

38.87

148

144

93

162

142

Oklahoma City, OK

38.91

75

139

132

151

141

Tallahassee, FL

38.98

120

171

91

117

140

Ontario, CA

39.02

154

136

151

57

139

El Paso, TX

39.02

145

116

158

91

138

Lewiston, ME

39.07

90

134

164

135

137

Huntsville, AL

39.27

102

160

103

167

136

Tulsa, OK

39.38

140

157

72

132

135

Akron, OH

39.46

127

130

150

81

134

Casper, WY

39.64

151

155

148

71

133

Dover, DE

39.71

97

166

121

166

132

Newport News, VA

40.02

80

147

149

85

131

Cape Coral, FL

40.16

119

140

108

150

130

Columbia, SC

40.33

84

141

98

169

129

Nashville, TN

40.41

121

83

136

146

128

Fresno, CA

40.43

144

85

139

125

127

Stockton, CA

40.53

172

94

138

83

126

Birmingham, AL

40.66

124

159

69

112

125

Knoxville, TN

40.81

165

117

81

142

124

Henderson, NV

41.21

138

149

137

62

123

Des Moines, IA

41.30

65

131

118

140

122

Nampa, ID

41.40

158

133

64

138

121

Springfield, MO

41.65

164

156

55

86

120

Indianapolis, IN

41.76

101

101

86

152

119

Kansas City, MO

41.98

95

114

128

96

118

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

42.02

109

145

80

111

117

Fort Worth, TX

42.04

104

119

60

143

116

Cheyenne, WY

42.33

64

169

117

144

115

Columbus, OH

42.36

103

82

125

123

114

Glendale, AZ

42.75

133

115

57

107

113

Modesto, CA

43.23

150

105

106

66

112

Anchorage, AK

43.27

143

97

152

40

111

Mesa, AZ

43.34

113

92

45

139

110

Santa Ana, CA

43.43

136

55

124

95

109

New Orleans, LA

43.44

157

123

102

49

108

New Haven, CT

43.44

79

113

157

33

107

Chesapeake, VA

43.52

15

132

115

110

106

Peoria, AZ

43.53

88

129

78

101

105

Cleveland, OH

43.76

134

46

131

94

104

Rapid City, SD

44.02

18

100

156

90

103

Dallas, TX

44.09

137

64

76

113

102

Warwick, RI

44.18

27

104

114

160

101

Lexington-Fayette, KY

44.30

63

86

110

122

100

Chula Vista, CA

44.59

46

90

95

133

99

San Antonio, TX

44.76

139

102

56

76

98

Durham, NC

44.87

29

61

85

157

97

Cedar Rapids, IA

44.93

20

148

59

136

96

Aurora, IL

44.97

66

109

141

20

95

Salem, OR

45.01

85

78

113

89

94

Houston, TX

45.24

122

53

65

116

93

Jacksonville, FL

45.25

147

80

61

79

92

Gilbert, AZ

45.27

62

103

5

161

91

Spokane, WA

45.45

112

84

58

102

90

Worcester, MA

45.49

24

106

112

99

89

Fargo, ND

45.52

41

108

101

115

88

Milwaukee, WI

45.59

98

77

123

63

87

Manchester, NH

45.62

73

122

43

114

86

Nashua, NH

45.73

58

107

38

156

85

Tucson, AZ

45.77

130

47

111

68

84

Oxnard, CA

45.81

81

63

140

46

83

Riverside, CA

46.23

131

51

48

98

82

Omaha, NE

46.34

26

112

46

109

81

Chandler, AZ

46.41

70

99

3

137

80

Louisville, KY

46.44

91

58

70

93

79

Charleston, SC

46.57

31

110

62

131

78

Jersey City, NJ

46.82

87

35

134

78

77

Reno, NV

47.21

126

91

54

48

76

Baltimore, MD

47.30

132

27

105

82

75

Tacoma, WA

47.40

116

44

52

119

74

Bridgeport, CT

47.82

35

121

129

7

73

Colorado Springs, CO

47.92

89

72

37

75

72

Bismarck, ND

47.94

57

89

42

149

71

Aurora, CO

48.04

50

68

23

108

70

Charlotte, NC

48.18

55

43

34

126

69

Wilmington, DE

48.19

94

79

73

37

68

West Valley City, UT

48.30

108

42

109

47

67

Pearl City, HI

48.49

13

88

119

73

66

Richmond, VA

48.75

72

66

17

104

65

Juneau, AK

49.13

105

52

155

12

64

Providence, RI

49.30

47

76

94

34

63

Anaheim, CA

49.36

76

41

75

65

62

Garden Grove, CA

49.44

83

45

143

4

61

Santa Clarita, CA

49.63

42

71

84

36

60

Buffalo, NY

49.67

59

38

88

67

59

Pembroke Pines, FL

49.81

49

96

40

32

58

Vancouver, WA

49.84

68

87

12

80

57

St. Petersburg, FL

49.90

71

62

32

59

56

Billings, MT

49.95

37

73

30

124

55

Boise, ID

50.12

28

95

29

58

54

Virginia Beach, VA

50.12

6

81

33

97

53

Santa Rosa, CA

50.19

67

54

47

61

52

Yonkers, NY

50.21

19

32

147

39

51

Sioux Falls, SD

50.24

12

74

50

103

50

Albuquerque, NM

50.24

114

67

97

13

49

Lincoln, NE

50.40

10

118

13

74

48

Long Beach, CA

50.44

86

33

79

56

47

Rochester, NY

50.49

69

31

120

26

46

Philadelphia, PA

50.51

111

20

87

54

45

Phoenix, AZ

50.71

96

30

67

51

44

St. Paul, MN

50.87

56

57

63

42

43

Plano, TX

50.90

23

93

9

69

42

Fort Lauderdale, FL

51.70

52

49

44

44

41

Oceanside, CA

51.88

48

65

11

87

40

St. Louis, MO

51.95

123

39

14

45

39

Tempe, AZ

52.26

78

70

10

31

38

Tampa, FL

52.30

99

26

19

64

37

Cincinnati, OH

52.35

118

56

15

24

36

Missoula, MT

52.42

17

120

36

25

35

Grand Rapids, MI

52.52

38

48

28

60

34

Miami, FL

52.55

60

10

100

72

33

Sacramento, CA

52.61

106

17

96

30

32

Overland Park, KS

52.82

2

98

21

92

31

Raleigh, NC

53.34

9

36

2

121

30

Las Vegas, NV

53.46

159

24

20

23

29

Columbia, MD

53.57

1

60

51

88

28

Glendale, CA

53.81

61

50

24

11

27

Pittsburgh, PA

53.95

33

25

41

50

26

Chicago, IL

54.33

92

12

66

35

25

Orlando, FL

54.59

82

15

27

43

24

Los Angeles, CA

55.54

115

4

89

21

23

South Burlington, VT

55.57

3

15

135

84

22

San Jose, CA

55.62

25

19

104

16

21

Oakland, CA

55.84

53

7

82

38

20

Burlington, VT

55.85

5

34

39

55

19

Fremont, CA

56.14

8

28

16

52

18

Madison, WI

56.20

22

29

22

29

17

Huntington Beach, CA

56.29

39

40

4

28

16

New York, NY

56.33

54

3

145

18

15

Portland, ME

56.38

4

23

126

10

14

Austin, TX

56.49

40

21

31

22

13

Atlanta, GA

57.11

74

18

7

27

12

Scottsdale, AZ

57.22

36

59

1

19

11

Boston, MA

57.39

7

11

68

41

10

Irvine, CA

57.63

14

37

18

14

9

Denver, CO

58.42

34

13

25

17

8

Minneapolis, MN

58.51

21

22

49

8

7

Washington, DC

59.78

32

9

35

15

6

Portland, OR

61.09

16

6

71

6

5

Salt Lake City, UT

61.86

45

14

6

3

4

San Diego, CA

61.94

43

5

26

5

3

Honolulu, HI

62.23

51

8

74

2

2

Seattle, WA

65.22

11

2

8

9

1

San Francisco, CA

67.07

30

1

53

1

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.

Opinion Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of WHN/A4M. Any content provided by guest authors is of their own opinion and is not intended to malign any religion, ethic group, club, organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything.

Content may be edited for style and length.

References/Sources/Materials provided by:

https://studyfinds.org/unhealthiest-cities-in-america/

https://wallethub.com/edu/healthiest-cities/31072

https://www.shrm.org/ResourcesAndTools/hr-topics/benefits/Pages/health-plan-costs-expected-to-rise-in-2023.aspx

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