The Healthiest City in Each State

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Virginia: Charlottesville
> Adult obesity rate: 27.4% (state: 29.8%)
> Adult smoking rate: 15.8% (state: 16.4%)
> Pct. of adults who exercise: 78.4% (state: 77.1%)
> Residents with health insurance: 88.9% (state: 89.8%)
> Median household income: $75,907 (state: $76,456)

Charlottesville ranks as the healthiest of Virginia’s nine metro areas, largely due to the prevalence of healthy behaviors among the city’s residents. For example, 78.4% of adults in Charlottesville exercise regularly, the largest share of metro areas in the state and more than the 77.1% of adults in the state who are physically active. Additionally, just 15.8% of metro area adults smoke, and 27.4% are obese, the smallest and second smallest share of any metro area in the state, respectively.

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Washington: Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue
> Adult obesity rate: 26.1% (state: 27.8%)
> Adult smoking rate: 11.1% (state: 13.5%)
> Pct. of adults who exercise: 84.4% (state: 83.0%)
> Residents with health insurance: 93.6% (state: 92.9%)
> Median household income: $94,027 (state: $78,687)

Of the 11 metro areas in Washington state, Seattle is the healthiest. Just 12.8% of adults in the metro area report being in fair or poor health, below both the 15.6% state and 17.0% national shares. Adults in Seattle are also more likely to exercise and less likely to smoke or be obese than adults across the state as a whole.

Adults with a college education tend to have higher incomes and make healthier lifestyle choices than those without a college degree. In Seattle, 44.1% of adults have a bachelor’s degree, well above the state bachelor’s degree attainment rate of 37.0% and the national rate of 33.1%.

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West Virginia: Morgantown
> Adult obesity rate: 31.3% (state: 36.7%)
> Adult smoking rate: 20.5% (state: 26.0%)
> Pct. of adults who exercise: 76.6% (state: 71.1%)
> Residents with health insurance: 92.6% (state: 92.5%)
> Median household income: $56,395 (state: $48,850)

While Morgantown is the healthiest city in West Virginia, metro area residents are less healthy than the average American by several measures. Some 20.5% of adults in Morgantown smoke, for example, the second smallest share of any city in the state yet higher than the 17.0% national smoking rate. Similarly, some 31.3% of adults in Morgantown are obese, the smallest share of any metro area in the state yet far above the 29.0% national obesity rate.

Tobacco use and obesity can increase the risk of certain serious diseases and conditions and raise the likelihood of premature death overall. In Morgantown, 339 in every 100,000 residents die before the age of 75 annually, less than the state premature mortality rate of 502 per 100,000 and in line with the national rate of 340 premature deaths per 100,000 Americans.

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Wisconsin: Madison
> Adult obesity rate: 26.9% (state: 31.3%)
> Adult smoking rate: 12.9% (state: 16.0%)
> Pct. of adults who exercise: 84.7% (state: 79.2%)
> Residents with health insurance: 94.8% (state: 93.6%)
> Median household income: $75,545 (state: $64,168)

Just 12.9% of adults in Madison smoke and just 26.9% are obese, each less than the corresponding state rates of 16.0% and 31.3%. Tobacco use and obesity are two of the leading causes of preventable death. In Madison, 246 in every 100,000 residents die before age 75 annually — less than the state premature mortality rate of 308 per 100,000 and one of the lowest rates of any city nationwide.

Income is one of the primary determinants of health, and areas with lower poverty rates tend to have better health outcomes. In Madison, just 8.9% of residents live in poverty, far less than the state’s 10.4% poverty rate and one of the lowest poverty rates of metro areas in the state.

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Wyoming: Cheyenne
> Adult obesity rate: 30.0% (state: 28.9%)
> Adult smoking rate: 17.0% (state: 18.7%)
> Pct. of adults who exercise: 76.6% (state: 75.9%)
> Residents with health insurance: 88.6% (state: 85.8%)
> Median household income: $70,567 (state: $65,003)

Of the two metro areas in Wyoming — Cheyenne and Casper — Cheyenne ranks as the healthiest. Some 23.4% of adults in Cheyenne do not exercise regularly, a lower inactivity rate than the 25.0% in Casper and the 24.1% across Wyoming as a whole. Similarly, 30.0% of adults in Cheyenne are obese, less than the obesity rate of 31.8% in Casper, yet higher than the 28.9% obesity rate statewide.

Obesity and sedentary lifestyles can increase the risk of premature death. In Cheyenne, 348 in every 100,000 residents die before the age of 75, a lower premature mortality rate than in Casper of 367 per 100,000.