While there’s no magic potion to keep you fit and thriving, maintaining small, healthy habits can make a big difference—and your Fitbit stats are proof.
For this year’s Health & Activity Index, Fitbit data scientists analyzed aggregated, anonymized step counts, active minutes, resting heart rate, sleep duration, and BMI of 10 million Americans across all 50 states and then paired that information with public health data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on rates of disease in the U.S. The results? States with higher than average activity levels generally correlated with lower incidences of at least one of the chronic health problems.
The Healthiest Places to Live
If you call the Northeast or Midwest home, raise a smoothie in celebration: Fitbit users in these areas lead the U.S. in average daily steps and active minutes, and generally have the lowest resting heart rates. CDC data finds Americans in these areas also tend to have the lowest rates of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. The correlation comes as no surprise: Research shows that as few as 22 minutes of brisk walking a day can reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes, while improving the quality of your life and your emotional well-being.
Two standout states:
Wisconsin takes the most steps per day (8,759 on average) and has some of the lowest rates of heart disease and diabetes among all states.
Hawaii has the lowest resting heart rate (67 beats per minute on average) and the third-lowest percentage of overweight or obese adults (58.1%).
Unfortunately the link between activity and health also works in the opposite direction, as Fitbit data from the South reveals. People who live in southern states were the least active, had the highest resting heart rates, and the highest incidences of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.
For instance, West Virginia ranks No. 1 for highest percentage of adults with heart disease (11.2%), No. 1 for highest percentage of adults with diabetes (14.1%) and No. 3 for highest percentage of adults who are overweight or obese (69.6%). West Virginia also has the eighth-lowest daily step count (7,828 on average) and the ninth-lowest daily active minutes (25.9 on average).
Data Drives Smart Decisions
Fitbit’s Health & Activity Index was created through its participation in The Opportunity Project 2.0, the second iteration of a White House initiative that aims to use open data to improve the lives of Americans. As the leader in the connected health and fitness category, Fitbit was invited to provide health and activity stats that can be used by national and state leaders, as well as health officials, to make more informed decisions about health policy.
But the Index is also available (and useful) to everyday citizens. Fitbit distilled all the information into an interactive map to help visualize how activity levels correlate with chronic disease. And because Fitbit believes a healthy, more active lifestyle is within anyone’s reach—no matter where you live—the Index also includes popular activities and fitness trends, as well as tips for increasing activity levels. So what are you waiting for? Start living healthier by seeing how your health and activity stats stack up against the national average.
This article is not intended to substitute for informed medical advice. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or condition. Always check with your doctor before changing your diet, altering your sleep habits, taking supplements, or starting a new fitness routine.