Vigor and vitality: The healthiest cities around the world

According to the World Health Organization, a healthy city is a setting wherein there is continual change in the improvement of the physical and social aspect of the environment which its residents occupy. It will also enable them to mutually support each other in the performance of life activities. Ultimately, a healthy city is a place where the people within it will achieve the best quality of life possible. Naturally, people want to spend their days in a happy and conducive environment, and these healthy cities from all over the world are definitely making the benchmark so high for the others.

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In the United States of America, the title of healthiest city would go to Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Florida. This is based on the Gallup-Healthways’ Community Well-Being Index. When they interviewed the residents of these locations, they were able to find physical, emotional, financial, and social health satisfaction. It certainly is no fluke that they are in the top spot for it is their second year in a row there.

If the US has Naples, then Europe has Copenhagen. It has been dubbed as one of the healthiest cities in the world as proven by its track record. It is an environment which is nearly ‘stress-free’ because only 2 percent of the population are working for 40 hours or more in a week. This translates to residents having more time to do what they want to do, including more time for an active lifestyle.

Moving to Asia, the honor would go to Okinawa. The residents there are so healthy that they are beating the life expectancy average for men and women by a whole decade. It also has the highest concentration of people who are living to be a hundred or more (centenarians). They practice vigorous exercise and a lean diet. That’s why their average body mass index hovers around 18 to 22.

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Among Latin American cities, meanwhile, Havana in Cuba is perhaps the healthiest in the region. The country as a whole has a life expectancy similar to that of the US. Despite being a generally poor city, Cuba has a near-100 percent vaccination rate and health screenings are quite regular. Residents in Havana are taught about proper nutrition, exercise, and first aid from a young age.

In the world’s smallest continent, Melbourne boasts of a quality of quality that is matched only by a few other cities on earth. This Australian metropolis has been named the ‘most livable city in the world’ by the Economist Intelligence Unit, which ranks places based on a number of categories or criteria including healthcare, education, crime rate, and lifestyle. Melbourne is very clean, safe, and hospitable, with a pleasant weather, top-notch infrastructure, and absence of any civil unrest that plague many other urban centers.

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Health and economic performance have direct correlation. Improving the health of a nation’s citizens would most likely translate to economic prosperity because there will be more people in the workforce able to perform effective activities. Policy choices with regard to healthcare should therefore not be taken lightly. Countries with strong health and education conditions may find it easier to achieve sustained growth.

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