How location impacts your lifestyle choices and well-being – Deseret News

How location impacts your lifestyle choices and well-being – Deseret News

Where you live and the community around you can influence your personal priorities. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Social connectedness influences our minds, bodies and behaviors — all of which influence our health and life expectancy. Research shows that social connectedness can lead to longer life, better health and improved well-being.”

A recent report by WalletHub found that certain cities in the U.S. prioritize healthier lifestyles more than others by implementing certain factors such as healthy eating, affordable health care or exercise opportunities.

Healthiest places to live in the U.S.:

  1. San Francisco, California.
  2. Honolulu, Hawaii.
  3. Seattle, Washington.
  4. San Diego, California.
  5. Washington, D.C.

Least healthiest places to live in the U.S.:

  1. Brownsville, Texas.
  2. Gulfport, Mississippi.
  3. Laredo, Texas.
  4. Columbus, Georgia.
  5. Shreveport, Louisiana.

Salt Lake City, Utah, is ranked as the eighth healthiest city in America overall and is third for its open green spaces, such as public parks.

Americans aren’t exercising enough

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends in its annual report that adults work out for at least 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity workouts each week or 150 minutes of rigorous-intensity workouts.

“Today, about half of all American adults — 117 million people — have one or more preventable chronic diseases. Seven of the 10 most common chronic diseases are favorably influenced by regular physical activity,” according to the report.

The report emphasized that “nearly 80% of adults are not meeting the key guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity, while only about half meet the key guidelines for aerobic physical activity. This lack of physical activity is linked to approximately $117 billion in annual health care costs and about 10% of premature mortality.”

How where you live can affect you

Where you live can significantly impact your health and exercise habits through various environmental, social and economic factors:

  • Access to parks and recreational activities.
  • A city’s walkability.
  • Air and environmental quality.
  • Access to healthy foods.
  • Public transportation.

“Staying healthy is a personal responsibility, and everyone should strive to eat nutritious food, exercise regularly and look after their mental health,” WalletHub analyst Cassandra Happe said, per the study.

“However, where people live can have a big influence on how successful they are at staying in good health, so the best cities are the ones that provide the greatest access to high-quality health care, green spaces, recreation centers, and healthy food,” she added.

Depending on where you live, you can either foster or hinder healthy living and exercise habits. Strategies to improve health and increase physical activity often involve multifaceted approaches that address these diverse aspects.

When considering a city that is good for your health, Jia Yu, an associate professor of economics at the School of Business at Southern Connecticut State University, told WalletHub that people should consider three major factors.

“Affordability and cost of living, access to health care and quality of care, and safety and social support,” Yu said. “A city, that is affordable regarding to housing, medical, and daily expenses, allows a comfortable standard of living. It can reduce financial stress and lead to overall health and well-being. A city with easy access to health care and good quality of care eases the stress of being ill. Easy access to care and good quality of care are always the main aspects of health improvement. A safe city with strong social and community support is essential for mental health and emotional well-being. And strong social connections can provide certain support even during challenging times for individuals.”

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