Provo has been ranked as the No. 1 healthiest city in America, and with its mountain bikers, rock climbers and lake enthusiasts, it’s easy to see why.
WalletHub surveyed 100 of the most populated cities in the United States to see where weight-related problems were most predominant. Several areas of health were analyzed, and the city with the least amount of weight problems was Provo.
Provo has easy accessibility to outdoor activities. The city was voted the second best place to live by Outside Magazine in 2014 because of abundant recreation options. Many outdoor enthusiasts, especially college students, claim to love “adventures” like hiking, climbing and wake boarding.
“Provo is one of those places where you can be powder skiing in the morning and rock climbing in the afternoon,” Outside Magazine said.
Utah Lake offers a nearby location for sailors and paddle boarders to relax. Rock Canyon takes its patrons high into the mountains, providing climbing locations as well as mountain biking paths.
Utah also tends to be a magnet for many skiers and snowboarders because of its famous powder snow, which can be found up the canyon at Sundance Resort.
Provo doesn’t have a problem with participation because of the two universities filled with energetic young adults ready for adventure, said Kristina Roberts, a senior majoring in exercise and wellness.
“We are a college town with a lot of people in their 20s, which is when people tend to be at their best health. It isn’t too big of a surprise that Provo is up there on the list of healthiest cities,” Roberts said.
Sicily Bennet, a freshman majoring in exercise science, agreed that Provo’s high ranking is related to the range of workout possibilities in Provo and the healthy lifestyles of most college students. Bennet spends her time working out in the great outdoors playing sports, climbing and hiking three to four times per week.
Near campus lies the Provo Recreation Center, BYU gym and VASA Fitness, which invite many students. BYU’s gym and VASA Fitness are known for overcrowding, especially in the evenings. More than 1,000 people visit VASA Fitness in Provo each day, according to VASA fitness records.
Students have many motivations for working out. Sophomore Christian Covey majors in human development and feels working out helps him feel better overall. “For me it really helps with my mental health. It also helps with my confidence and my self-image.”
What people take into their bodies plays a large role as well. Many in Provo are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and follow the doctrine of the Word of Wisdom by avoiding harmful substances. They are also taught that their bodies are to be treated as temples, with the utmost respect, Roberts said, which is another prominent reason for people’s good health.
Emily Curtis, a sophomore studying business, said she takes care of her body “because I am a strong believer that our bodies really are a beautiful gift from God and that we need to be treating them right and keeping them healthy.”
Health is not only about the way people look on the outside. Provo is ranked No. 1 for an overall evaluation of health issues, but there are more specific areas surveyed in which Provo was listed with the lowest percentage of problems. Provo has the lowest percentage of residents with high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure and the lowest prevalence of obesity.
Not everyone in Provo is equally active, but it is never too late to start. Everyone can be an addition to Provo’s high health rates. Some may prefer being active with other people. Utah County offers groups and clubs for people who share the same desire for a variety of outdoor activities.
For more health information and groups, visit meetup.com and the BYU Clubs page.