Las Vegas was recognized as one of the top 20 American cities for helping promote healthy living to its residents by Cooking Light Magazine. As Cooking Light begins its 20th year of publication, it wanted to know what places best provide the resources people need to live healthful lives. The magazine ranked major metropolitan areas on 15 criteria, including healthfulness and exercise data, restaurant ratings, farmer’s market listings, and parks and recreation data.
The ranking criteria were calculated on a per-capita basis, then grouped into categories--eat smart, be fit, live well--and factored on a four-point scale:
- Does the city have critically acclaimed food professionals? Source: James Beard-nominated restaurants
- How do its restaurants rate? Source: Zagat Survey
- Is organic dining a part of the local dining scene? Source: LocalHarvest.org
- How many chefs work in the city? Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
- Do they earn more than a living wage? Source: BLS
- How many farmers’ markets does the city have? Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture Farmer’s Markets Directory; LocalHarvest.org
- Do residents make use of fresh produce? Source: CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)
- Are gourmet ingredients available via national chains? Source: Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods locations
- Are residents in good health? Source: BRFSS
- What are the cities with the lowest rates of diabetes? Source: CDC and BRFSS
- What are the cities where residents maintain healthy weights? Source: CDC and BRFSS
- How important is exercise to the city’s residents? Source: CDC and BRFSS
- How much green space does the city provide, and is it well maintained? Source: The Trust for Public Land
- Is the city easy to explore on foot? Source: American Podiatric Association
“We felt the recent ranking of Las Vegas as America's 'fattest city' by another magazine was way off, and failed to take into account many of the great things we are doing to help our citizens to stay healthy," Mayor Oscar B. Goodman said. “The Cooking Light findings underscore what we were saying about what is really happening in Las Vegas.”
The city of Las Vegas has several initiatives designed to help the community get healthy, including the Mayor’s Healthy Lifestyle Initiative, which was launched in 2007. The initiative consists of a three-point plan to a healthy lifestyle:
- Get Smart: Learn about diet and nutrition, essential components to a healthy lifestyle and quality of life.
- Get Up: Sedentary activities increase the risk of heart disease, stroke and obesity. Learn the importance of a healthy, active lifestyle.
- Get Out: Identify recreation center, parks and trails near you. The city of Las Vegas has many leisure services facilities that offer a wide range of activities, from cultural performances, sports leagues, and children’s day camps to Corporate Challenge, the largest amateur athletic competition in the state.
The initiative’s Web page, www.gethealthylasvegas.org includes tips, information on city parks and more.
The city of Las Vegas boasts three acres of open space per 1,000 residents; the national standard is 2.5 acres per thousand residents. The city has approximately 1,700 acres of park space and 68 parks and more than 40 recreation facilities.