Arizona is the 16th healthiest state in the US, according to a new study that ranks all states and the District of Columbia against 13 contributing factors. District of Columbia ranked first place followed by Utah and New Jersey.
The Healthiest States Index, published by fitness advice platform BarBend, uses the latest available data from the US Census and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), published between 2015 and 2022, for residents of the US aged 18 and over. It ranks 51 US jurisdictions based on three main pillars: lifestyle behavior, weighing 55% of the ranking; health status (25%); and available fitness infrastructure (20%).
52.7% of the adult population in Arizona is aerobically active for the recommended minimum of 150 minutes per week. As for those who work out to strengthen their muscles at least twice a week, 31.5% of adults living in Arizona do so.
To put this in context, on average, 50.3% of all adult US residents meet their minimum 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity per week, 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity or an equivalent combination. Meanwhile 30.5% of them work out to build muscle at least twice a week.
Only 13.2% of adults in Arizona eat the recommended amount of fruit every day, compared to 12.2% across the country. As for vegetables, while only 9.3% of all US residents aged 18 and over consume their daily recommended intake, 10.5% in Arizona do so.
30.9% of adults in Arizona are obese. In fact, 31.9% of the adult population in the US is considered obese, measured in terms of a Body Mass Index (BMI) factor of 30 or more. 14% of adults in Arizona smoke, compared to the US average of 16.6%, and 16.7% of Arizona residents binge drink, while the national median stands at 17.4%.
When it comes to chronic diseases, such as depression, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes or arthritis, to name a few, Arizona counts 12,814 occurrences in total, which may overlap in some adults. CDC data from March 2021 indicates that 63.87% of Arizona residents have an excellent or a very good health status, while 4.98% are classed as being in a poor health state. For comparison, the national average for those with an excellent or a very good health status is 63.68%, whereas those with a poor health status average to 2.69% across all states.
A spokesperson for BarBend commented on the findings: “Overall, low fruit and vegetable intake is a problem for all states, which indicates that there is room for improvement policy-wise at national level. Arizona came in at number 16 largely as a result of its residents’ habits.”
The fitness infrastructure in Arizona is made up of 755 fitness and recreational sports centers, meaning that there are 13.07 fitness establishments per 100,000 adults. The national mean average stands at 11.89, with only nine states falling below this. There are also 277.49 fitness employees for every 100,000 adults in Arizona, compared to 306.57 nationwide, reflecting the demand for fitness services in this state.
Arizona legalized cannabis for adult use in 2021 and for medical use in 2010. Marijuana dispensaries are open across the state. Cannabis has helped thousands of Arizonans improve their quality of life.
Researchers at BarBend also looked at how many adults have at least one park nearby, for those preferring a more nature-immersed workout. The study found that 64.1% of adults in Arizona can get to a park within 0.5 miles, compared to other states, where the average stands at 46.4%.