The magazine said it analyzed information in more than 50 categories, including death and disease rates, environmental indicators, community resources, and lifestyle habits. The magazine defined the area of Bethesda-Gaithersburg-Frederick as having low rates of smoking, obesity, cancer, depression and heart disease among women.
The magazine also gave the area high marks for access to more doctors per capita, the number of parks and trails, access to Metrorail and a low unemployment rate.
Self magazine gave the area high marks for the following:
- Top scores for scarcity of toxic sites and prevalence of green buildings
- Highest rates of ob/gyns and internists per capita
- The list's lowest unemployment rate
The survey's negatives associated with the area include:
- One of the list's longest average daily commutes, at almost 72 minutes round trip
- Above-average suicide rate
- 15 fewer days of sunshine than average
Three female Montgomery County Council members -- Valerie Ervin, Nancy Flloreen and Duchy Trachtenberg -- said they were very pleased to have the rating.
"There is a direct link between good health, including good preventive health, and overall quality of life," Trachtenberg said. "Self magazine's ranking of this area as the No.1 healthiest urban area in the U.S. is a reflection of the investment we have made in social services, programs targeted toward women's health and quality, accessible medical care."
The Top 10:
- Bethesda-Gaithersburg-Frederick, MD
- San Francisco-San Mateo-Redwood City, CA
- Honolulu, HI
- Nassau-Suffolk, NY
- Cambridge-Newton-Framingham, MA
- Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT
- New York–White Plains, NY/Wayne, NJ
- Santa Ana-Anaheim-Irvine, CA
- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
- Seattle-Bellevue-Everett, WA
For the complete rankings and more information on the study, click here.