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Vancouver ranks in top 10 of healthiest cities in the world

It was praised for offering "every kind of outdoor sport and adventure, pioneering health and fitness."
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Vancouver has cracked the top 10 list of the healthiest cities in the world in a new study, making it the lone Canadian city to do so.  Photo: Downtown Vancouver / Getty Images

Vancouver has cracked the top 10 list of the healthiest cities in the world in a new study, making it the lone Canadian city to do so. 

The study, conducted by Lenscore, analyzed 44 cities across the globe to uncover where it’s "easier to lead a well-rounded, healthy lifestyle." The team collected data across 10 metrics, and each city was awarded a weighted score on each one. These scores were then combined to give each city a total score out of 100, which determined the ranking. 

Metrics ranged from sunshine hours to the average cost of a gym membership and even pollution levels, to determine which is the best to lead a happy and healthy lifestyle.

The world's top three healthiest cities 

The Dutch capital, Amsterdam, takes the crown as the world's healthiest city. Since the European city is famous for its cyclists and picturesque canal walks, it affords ample opportunity to stay fit outside. Report authors note, "The city is home to over 400 outdoor activities to keep you both fit and entertained, which is made even better with the destination sitting in the top 10 least polluted cities in Europe."

Sydney, Australia comes in the second spot, touted for receiving a staggering 2,636 hours of sunshine hours per year and offering roughly 406 outdoor activities. Report authors tease, "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."

Another European city, Vienna, lands in third, with a "pollution level is also one of the lowest of all cities analysed at 17.33 (out of 100), which is over four times lower than the likes of Beijing with a pollution score of 85.43 (out of 100) and three times lower than Barcelona, Paris and London." The Austrian city was also lauded for low-cost gym fees. 

Europe is home to seven of the 10 healthiest cities

In the top 10 healthiest locations to live in the world, seven are based in Europe, with three of these being Scandinavian countries - Stockholm, Copenhagen and Helsinki - all known for their low pollution levels, short working hours, and high happiness levels.

“Our health has never been more important and it’s really interesting to see that leading a healthy and happy life can be influenced by your location by such a significant amount. The shorter working weeks and low pollution levels have proved greatly successful for cities in the north of Europe such as Copenhagen and Stockholm, despite these locations receiving some of the lowest hours of sunshine each year," said Lenstore's Roshni Patel.

"Keeping fit and healthy can also become costly with gym memberships and the cost of groceries varying in different cities. It’s great to see cities with hundreds of outdoor activities that can be enjoyed for free. With many different factors, it’s important to consider which are the most important to you to lead the healthiest and happiest lifestyle you possibly can”

Vancouver rounded out the top ten 10 and placed the highest of all cities in North America. Report authors mention that it has considerably lower pollution levels (24.2%), compared to other European cities such as Berlin (39.41%), Barcelona (65.19%) and Amsterdam (30.93%). They add that it also offers "every kind of outdoor sport and adventure, pioneering health and fitness."

Vancouver was also praised for its "happy residents," which is a striking departure from a study Lenscore released last month that found Canadians were among the top three most anxious, stressed, and depressed people in the world over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, that study focused on Canadians as a whole, rather than spotlighting Vancouverites. 

Top 10 healthiest cities in the world 

  1. Amsterdam
  2. Sydney
  3. Vienna
  4. Stockholm
  5. Copenhagen
  6. Helsinki
  7. Fukuoka
  8. Berlin
  9. Barcelona
  10. Vancouver