Money, women and success are metrics by which many men measure happiness, but without one’s health, even the most coveted of worldly possessions can seem worthless. It’s no secret that being healthy — and feeling healthy — are vital components to living a long and happy life, so when it comes to choosing the city in which to live, making sure that your prospective metropolis offers a healthy environment will go a long way in ensuring your personal health.
AskMen.com compiled a list of the Top 29 cities for men around the world. The Web site not only took into account good health, but also looked at the best places for dating and sex, sports and entertainment, and even the cheapest places to buy a beer.
What Makes a City Healthy?
Determining exactly what makes a city healthy for men is a fairly daunting task and admittedly a tad subjective. The number of criteria under consideration will most certainly vary which is why you’ll notice that no two rankings of healthiest cities will ever be the same. Keeping that in mind, taking the most macro view on the matter, you may want to take a quick look at male life expectancies.
Japan has long prided itself in having the world’s longest life expectancy, both for men and women. While it’s not exactly clear where Tokyo falls in consideration to Japan’s national average of 78.8 years life expectancy at birth for men, it’s probably not too far off.
This does however highlight one of the issues when attempting to rely on a macro measure like life expectancy: Data is usually only available for the country and not the city. It’s also important to bear in mind that much of mortality relies on genetics not just the city’s environment. Turning our focus elsewhere around the world, Vancouver, Toronto, Sydney and Melbourne lead the way with rates competitive with those of Japan.
The U.S. on the other hand lags by almost 3 years with San Francisco coming out on top. Meanwhile, France (Lyon and Paris), Italy (Rome), and Spain (Madrid and Barcelona) are tops on the European side of things.
Why is New York a great city for men to live in? Click here to find out.
Burden of Disease
Beyond knowing simply how long local men live, it might be valuable to know what’s likely to kill ya if you do decide to settle in one of our top 29 cities for men. Heart disease has long been a killer of men worldwide. With people living longer than ever before, chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes are set to take over, collectively being projected to account for three quarters of all deaths by 2020.
Keeping on top of heart health is therefore not an option; it’s a must! Leading the charge, at least in terms of fewest deaths due to heart disease, is once again Japan (Tokyo), followed by France (Lyon and Paris), Australia (Melbourne and Sydney), Spain (Madrid and Barcelona), and Italy (Rome). The U.S., China (Hong Kong) and Argentina (Barcelona) find themselves near the bottom.
Beyond heart disease, diabetes and obesity are two telling measures of what makes a city healthy. Germany (Hamburg and Berlin) and Austria (Vienna) head the pack as far as diabetes is concerned, with both countries being none too slim either.
While the U.K. (Hamburg and London) surprisingly has the lowest percentage of the population with diabetes, rates of obesity have been skyrocketing and both the U.K. and U.S. are the most obese nations of those on our list. On the other hand, China (Hong Kong), Japan (Tokyo), Italy (Rome) and Denmark (Copenhagen) are among the least obese.
All Things Considered
Looking at measures such as life expectancy or rates of disease can weave a complex web of information, often too difficult to entangle. This is why detailed surveys on a whole range of topics are constructed to determine what makes a city healthy.
In these surveys, diverse measures such as the number of parks, access to medical care, rates of smoking and so on, are all taken into account to rank a city’s healthy environment. One of the largest such surveys is the Worldwide Health and Sanitation Ranking (last reported in 2007) conducted by Mercer Human Resource Consulting.
And just how do our top 29 cities fare? Well, Canada as a whole dominates Mercer’s top 50 with Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver on top, followed by Vienna, Portland and Hamburg.
Health Is a Choice
No matter where you choose to live, being healthy is ultimately a personal choice and lifelong commitment. Even within a city, neighborhoods differ, so there is often health-conscious folk in each and every metropolis. Surround yourself with likeminded people and stay true to your commitments and you too can live a long and happy life.
29. Edinburgh, Scotland
28. Hamburg, Germany
27. Cape Town, South Africa
26. Santiago, Chili
25. Tel Aviv, Israel
24. Melbourne, Australia
23. Lyon, France
22. Portland, Oregon
21. Panama City, Panama
20. Montreal, Canada
19. Los Angeles, Calif.
18. Vienna, Austria
17. Madrid, Spain
16. Miami, Fla.
15. Toronto, Canada
14. Tokyo, Japan
13. Buenos Aires, Argentina
12. Rome, Italy
11. Vancouver, Canada
10. Paris, France
9. Copenhagen, Denmark
8. Hong Kong
7. Berlin, Germany
6. New York
5. Sydney, Australia
3. San Francisco, Calif.
2. Barcelona, Spain
1. Chicago, Ill.
AskMen.com recently launched the Top 29 Best Cities To Live In, a comprehensive roundup of the year’s most inhabitable cities for the modern man. Selection criteria for the top cities included the rate of employment, the ratio of single women to men, the frequency of cultural activities and sporting events and the ever-important cost of a pint of beer. See which cities made the list at AskMen.com.