The affluent suburbs of northern Virginia, which boast a comfortable distance from the hubbub of Washington, D.C., also include some of nation’s healthiest places.
Falls Church, Virginia, just a short drive to the nation’s capital, topped the U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of the Healthiest Communities. Also in the top 10 were the city of Fairfax (No. 6) and Loudoun County (No. 10), both short commutes over the Potomac River to D.C.
A community’s health, U.S. News reports, can be affected by everything from obesity and smoking rates, to education and access to recreational spaces.
To compile its rankings, U.S. News and the Aetna Foundation analyzed about 3,000 U.S. counties in 10 categories, nearly all of which are considered key indicators of an area’s health by the National Committee on Vital and Health Statistics, an advisory body to the U.S. secretary of Health and Human Services.
The categories include Education, environment, community vitality, equity, population health, food and nutrition, economy, infrastructure, housing and public safety.
Falls Church, Fairfax and Loudoun County scored high in six of the 10 categories. The areas claim some of the top income and health outcomes in the U.S. along with high scores in walkability, educational attainment and proximity to schools. However, the area also scored poorly in respiratory hazards and housing affordability.