The best cities in the world to live in for your health

Catriona Harvey-Jenner
·4-min read
Photo credit: courtneyk - Getty Images
Photo credit: courtneyk - Getty Images

From Cosmopolitan

Over the past year, health has been at the front of our minds more than ever. Physical health, obviously, because of the pandemic that's been raging globally for the past year - but also mental health. The coronavirus crisis and subsequent lockdowns have caused immense pressure on people's mental health, with additional stresses surrounding jobs, money and loneliness all very commonplace.

So when all this is over (well, as 'over' as it'll ever get) it's likely that health will be a major priority in our lives and in our lifestyles. A large part of that is where you live, and if you're contemplating a change in future, you might be interested in this list of the healthiest places in the world to be a resident. To help determine this ranking, researchers at Lenstore analysed 44 global cities across 10 metrics:

  • Sunshine hours

  • The average cost of a gym membership

  • The average cost of a bottle of water

  • Obesity levels (country-wide)

  • Life expectancy (country-wide)

  • Pollution index score

  • Annual average hours worked

  • Happiness levels (country-wide)

  • Outdoor activities

  • Number of take-out places

So, want to find out where in the world you'd be most likely to live a long and happy life? Read on...

10. Vancouver, Canada

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Researchers say: "Vancouver is famous for offering every kind of outdoor sport and adventure, pioneering health and fitness. It also has an average life expectancy of 81.7 years, a relatively low pollution score (24/100) and happy residents (7/10)."

9. Barcelona, Spain

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Researchers say: "Barcelona takes the top spot for the number of outdoor activities with over 580 – which is great when paired with its 2,591 sunshine hours."

8. Berlin, Germany

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Researchers say: "Berlin’s average life expectancy is 80.6 years, which may be supported by its relatively cheap average monthly gym membership at £26.11 - third cheapest in Europe. Germany’s capital also has lots of opportunity to get out in the fresh air with the fifth highest number of outdoor activities in Europe at 254 and the ninth lowest pollution levels in Europe."

7. Fukuoka, Japan

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images


Researchers say: "Located in the northern shore of Japan’s Kyushu Island, Fukuoka's ability to lead a healthy lifestyle shouldn’t go overlooked. With a bottle of water costing just £0.78, it’s easy to ensure you’re drinking the recommended 2 litres a day even on the move. The city also has the highest life expectancy at 83.2 years of all 44 locations."

6. Helsinki, Finland

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images


Researchers say: "Ranking as the happiest city, Helsinki has the lowest pollution score of all cities at 13.08/100. It also features in the top 10 when looking at just the lowest number of yearly working hours."

5. Copenhagen, Denmark

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images


Researchers say: "Copenhagen is known as one of the happiest cities in the world (ranking second, beaten only by Helsinki in our research). If you’re looking for the ultimate work-life balance, Copenhagen has the lowest working hours per year of all cities at 1,380 (28.75 hours per week). However living in Copenhagen doesn't come cheap. It ranks in third position for the highest cost of a bottle of water at £2.19, outweighing both New York (£1.32) and London (£1.16)."

4. Stockholm, Sweden

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images


Researchers say: "Stockholm offers more opportunity for a better work-life balance, ranking in 4th position for total number of hours worked per year, at 1,452 hours (30.25 hours per week). Taking into consideration other metrics such as its low level of pollution (20/100) and general happiness throughout the city (7/10), Stockholm ranks in 4th position overall."

3. Vienna, Austria

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Researchers say: "Vienna not only lets you soak up culture from artwork, music and architecture, but it also offers the opportunity to lead a healthy lifestyle. With an average gym membership costing around £26 per month (nearly half the cost than in Sydney), and the fifth lowest levels of obesity in Europe at 20.1%, the Austrian capital is the perfect destination to lead a healthier life."

2. Sydney, Australia

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images


Researchers say: "Sydney experiences 2,636 hours of sunshine hours per year... giving you more than enough time to take advantage of the 406 outdoor activities. This outweighs the relatively high monthly gym membership cost of £42 and with a life expectancy of 82 years, perhaps outdoor fitness is the way to go."

  1. Amsterdam, Netherlands

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images


Researchers say: "With over 400 outdoor activities to keep you fit and healthy, and ranking as the 5th happiest country in the world, as well as the 6th best country in Europe for obesity levels at just 20.4% (nearly 10% less compared to London at 27.8%), living in this picturesque city is the top destination for leading a healthy lifestyle."

You can read Lenstore's full research report here.

The latest issue of Cosmopolitan UK is out now and you can SUBSCRIBE HERE.

Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.


You Might Also Like