The Healthy Habit Index: The Top (And Bottom) 10 Healthiest States

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The Healthy Habit Index: The Top (And Bottom) 10 Healthiest States

As we power into summer, energy levels spike, layers come off and fresh fruit hits the supermarket shelves. It’s the perfect time to recommit ourselves to the habits that keep us healthy. And just what are those habits? Who is the best at sticking to them?

We collaborated with our partners at MapMyFitness to take a look at healthy habits across the United States. We determined that “healthiest” living includes a solid dose of activity paired with a healthful diet. From California to Wyoming, we’ve ranked the United States—and you might be surprised at what we found out.

Together with our in-house dietitians, coaches and data scientists, we crunched numbers on the following:

A Healthful Diet: We looked at MyFitnessPal data in order to determine the number of people in each state who:

  • stayed within 10% of their daily calorie goals
  • met or exceeded their daily fiber goals
  • stayed at or below their daily sugar goals
  • stayed at or below their daily sodium goals

An Active Lifestyle: We looked at MapMyFitness data to determine the length, frequency and type of exercise logged in each state.

And who came out on top? Take a look for yourself at the rankings:

HH_Top10v10

 

HH_Bottom10v7

We put together a heat map of the United States so you can explore the data yourself. Use the buttons on the top left to switch among the overall healthy habits index, diet and activity. Hover over each state to get more information.

We teased out a few quirky details from the data:

Calorie Consciousness

We noticed the states most likely to stick to their calorie goals were also, statistically, some of the most obese. For example, West Virginia, which is ranked number one in sticking to calorie goals, is also ranked as the most obese state, according to the Better Policies for Healthier America. Why is this? We can only speculate, but perhaps those populations are more motivated to stick to their goals once they’ve committed to tracking on MyFitnessPal.

The West Moves The Most

Seven of our top 10 most active states were Western states.

 

Methodology Statement

Altogether, we looked at six elements to determine our healthy habit index, including four dietary elements (calories, sodium, fiber and sugar) and two workout elements (number of workouts and workout length).

Four dietary elements are weighed equally to determine the diet index: percentage of people who were within 10 percent of their daily calorie goals, percentage of people who were at or under their sodium limits, percentage of people who were at or under their sugar limits, and percentage of people who were at or over their fiber goals.

Activity rankings are based on average minutes spent working out per week per user.

These three elements were combined equally to create an overall healthy habit ranking.

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  • Earl Bandy

    The heat map ranks CA as number 1. But your Graphic table has CO as number 1?

  • Lolita

    The asterisk says that the District of Columbia are not included in the 10 unhealthiest habits, but then it lists Washington, DC as #4.

    • jillian

      it says are included

  • Abby

    Hey! This is a really cool idea to do. Shocking, most definetly, I certainly didn’t think some of the mentioned states would have been listed in the healthiest category. I was just wondering if you would be able to do this for the provinces of Canada?

    Once again a really neat idea

  • JS333

    Well, this is only based on information obtained from people who use the apps mentioned in the article so it is a little skewed. If you look at the actual fitness ranking by the American Fitness Council and other organizations, it lists Washington DC as the healthiest city.

  • Sara Llewellyn

    Gregory Chertok, a sports psychology consultant for the American College of Sports Medicine, told Reuters that tracking exercise data can help individuals stick with it. Plus, it helps dieters assess how hard they are working.

    “The app, unlike our own perceptions, gives us true, objective, hard data,” he said.

    Two things: 1) The people using these apps are not always 100% honest with the data they volunteer. 2) This represents data collected only from people who own a smartphone and actually know about the app. This does not paint a picture of the whole state and is being misrepresented as such.

  • Wow, I’m in California and I agree–but there are plenty of unhealthy spots in California!

  • Ana

    Very interesting! Surprised Texas came in as Number 6! It is so very hot here (98-102 F) that we have to work out in the sweltering outdoors at certain times, like before 6 and after 9.

  • MrFrodo_theCat

    I think it’s interesting to note that the top 5 states that have the healthiest habits all have at least legal medical cannabis. Washington D.C. is the outlier, but then, very little of anything healthy comes from there.

  • William Ulrickson

    Why is Montara listed twice?