Las Vegas Ranked One Of The Unhealthiest Cities In America

New York New York hotel on the Strip
A recently conducted study that focused on overall health and wellness of metropolitan cities has deemed Las Vegas as one of the unhealthiest cities in the United States. Further research points to an increased risk of heart attack and cardiovascular disease for residents of Las Vegas, as well as other cities that ranked similarly for overall health.

Well, Just How Bad Did Las Vegas Rank?

As reported by ABC Channel 13 Action NewsLas Vegas placed 39th on the American Fitness Index in terms of health and wellness. Before you get too excited, 50 is the total number of cities analyzed in the study, which means Las Vegas is sitting 11th from the absolute bottom. A list compiled by the American College of Sports Medicine ranked the top 50 ‘metropolitan’ cities according to levels of chronic disease conditions, preventive health measures, healthcare access and "community resources and policies that encourage healthy and fit lifestyles." Las Vegas scored a 41.1 out of a possible 100 points, and scored only 40 the previous year
. The survey also cited health improvement priorities, including an unusually high mortality rate due to cardiovascular disease. Some factors that may be contributing to this extremely high number are a lower percent of residents with health insurance, fewer farmers' markets, a high smoking percentage, and fewer primary healthcare facilities per capita. The only cities to have performed worse than Las Vegas were: Tampa, Birmingham, Houston, Dallas, Indianapolis, Memphis, Louisville, San Antonio, Detroit and Oklahoma City. You can view the complete list here, if you so desire.

Okay. What Does This Mean for Las Vegas Residents?

A study recently done by Gallup Poll indicated that those living in cities with overall unhealthy ratings are at much greater risk of heart attacks than those living in cities where health and fitness are community priorities. Risk factors considered "widely present" in unhealthy cities such as Las Vegas include smoking, high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, excessive alcohol use, excessive stress and high cholesterol. It will probably be very difficult for Las Vegas, the “city of sin”, to shy away from some of these behaviors; namely the smoking and alcohol use.

So How Can We Improve Our Ranking?

Luckily there are ways to improve our overall health without having to forego “the fun stuff”. The Well Being Index suggests that Las Vegas and other unhealthy cities work to create a culture that focuses on physical health and wellness, starting at a young age. Providing education on heart disease and cardiovascular issues through school programs is an excellent starting point to reach our younger residents. Offering individual health consultations for students is also a great option for stressing the importance of cardiovascular wellness to our youth. City leaders, local businesses and other local dignitaries are highly encouraged to get involved with these programs to take steps towards improving community health as well.
Let's work together to improve the health of our community! Leading by example is a great way to get through to your friends, family, colleagues, and even complete strangers. There are plenty of available resources to help Las Vegas get back on the right track.
Jessica Bailey is a freelance writer and nursing student who writes for a variety of health blogs. She gets much of her heart health information and inspiration from the heart surgeons at CVsurgnv.com. Jessica currently lives in Las Vegas, Nevada

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