New York's extensive smoking ban and Havana's 100 percent vaccination rate puts them on CNN's list of healthiest cities.
Living in a major metropolitan area has many advantages, including choices in terms of occupation and culture.
But it does not always promote the healthiest possible lifestyle.
However, there are major cities in the world that do promote good health in dramatic fashion, and CNN has studied the cause of healthy living in the world’s biggest cities to determine the 10 Healthiest Cities in the World.
“A truly healthy city makes it easy for residents to adopt a healthful lifestyle, whether it is by providing quality health care, encouraging preventative medicine or reducing air pollution,’’ CNN wrote in its story. “These cities top our list because they shine in one or more areas of good health.”
CNN sent request for healthful living information from major cities around the globe and chose these 10 from their responses:
Copenhagen – Denmark was recently selected as the happiest nation on the plant by the World Happiness Report commissioned by the United Nations. Copenhagen promotes its working residents to get out and enjoy life by keeping work hours short; only 2 percent of employees in Copenhagen work 40 hours a week or more. The city sponsors and pays the cost for most programs, including organized sports and other park activities to encourage civic participation. The city has 249 miles of bike paths. By 2015, the law will state that all residents must be able to reach a park or beach by foot in 15 minutes or less.
Okinawa – So does the city make its residents healthy, or do the residents make the city healthy? Okinawans, both men and women, live approximately 10 years longer than the worldwide life expectancy, and has more centaurians per capita than any other city in the world. In Okinawa, residents eat more fish and hardly touch red meat. They maintain strong family bonds as generations of Okinawans often live together, and doctors say that reduces stress.
Monte Carlo – The tiny city in the tiny country of Monaco has the world’s lowest child-mortality rate in the world. Of every 1,000 births, it records only 1.81 deaths. The World Health Organization says Monte Carlo benefits from the nation’s consistently updated technology for health services. The country’s wealth – with the fifth highest gross domestic product in the world per capita - helps it pay for the best possible health care staff and medical treatment. Monaco has three times the number of physicians per capita than the United States has.
Vancouver – Surrounded on the west by the ocean and on all other sides by forest or mountains, Vancouver ranks among the top cities in the world for clean air. In 2011, Vancouver adopted the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan, aiming to be the most environmentally friendly city in the world. In the past 20 years, there has been a 75 percent increase in the percentage of city residents living downtown, which reduces automobile traffic and carbon emissions.
Melbourne – For four consecutive years, Melbourne has been named the Most Livable City in the World by the Economist Intelligence Unit. Beaches, a busy cultural scene, a racially diverse populace and a temperate climate create the perfect venue for outdoor living experiences.
New York – Based on its aggressive ban on smoking in all bars and restaurants, New York has reported a 28 percent decline in smoking residents including a 50 percent decline in smoking among high schoolers. In 2011, the law was strengthened to include a smoking ban in parks and on pedestrian plazas.
Jonkoping – In the south of Sweden lies Jonkoping, which years ago created the Esther Project, in which decisions are made to improve the quality of life for the elderly by asking how they will affect Esther, an imaginary 88-year-old woman. By keeping Esther in mind, government officials have improved health care for the elderly and significantly reduced the number of hospital beds in the region as the aging population
Havana – Yes, Havana, as in Cuba, is one of the healthiest cities in the world. Why? Because the government concentrates on prevention of disease rather than treatment. The country has a near 100 percent vaccination rate and an extensive network of local clinics. Medical school is free in Cuba, and the country trains more doctors than any other Latin American country.
Singapore – The citizens are required to participate in a health savings program which guarantees they have the saving necessary for future health care, which promotes regular checkups. Also, the cost of health care is tied to income level, medical costs are completely transparent, and as a result only 4.7 percent of the country’s gross domestic product went to health services. In the United States, 17.9 percent went to health services in 2013.
Napa – More than any other community contacted by CNN, Napa is aggressive in doing everything it can to promote a lifestyle of physical activity and involvement. While the benefits of drinking red wine continue to be discussed, most Napa social events are held so that they can be reached by walking or biking. One city official was quoted saying “our goal is for the healthy choice to be the easy choice.”
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.