Big Game Matchup: Which City Is Healthier - Boston or LA?
By Katherine Wernet
This year’s Big Game is nearly upon us. While not always a day characterized by healthy choices (hello, chili, wings, and beer!), we’re taking the opportunity to size up the wellness of the two cities playing on Sunday, February 3. With New England set to play Los Angeles, we’re exploring the health behaviors and attitudes of the two home cities. Which city is healthier and will take the victory—Boston or LA?
In the MINDBODY Wellness Index we did a deep dive, exploring which top 50 metro areas in the US have the strongest wellness marketplaces. Boston and LA are ranked 5th and 6th, respectively, making for a perfect matchup. The Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA-NH, metropolitan statistical area earns a score of 50.6. Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA, comes in just behind, with a score of 50.5.
Kick-off: Who works out more?
The game starts off tense, with residents of both cities reporting that they work out about the same amount; 45% in either metro say they work out three times a week or more. Los Angeles takes possession from Boston, though, as 30% of Angelenos feel very or extremely satisfied with their overall fitness. Only 18% of folks in Boston say the same.
Boston advances down the field. New England incorporates walking into their routines more frequently than their West Coast rival. Seventy-four percent of people in Boston report walking regularly for exercise compared to only 63% of Angelenos. They walk right into the end zone, with no Angelenos in sight. Touchdown Boston, but their dissatisfaction with their overall fitness causes a doink on the uprights, and they miss the extra point.
Timeout: If you want to learn more about the latest national fitness trends, check out our fitness report here.
Boston’s up 6-0.
2nd Quarter: Who has the healthiest habits?
Los Angeles, feeling the pressure, steps up. LA residents are better about eating their fruits and veggies. Thirty-four percent of folks in LA are eating the recommended 5-9 servings. In Boston, that number dwindles to 25%. Touchdown LA.
Angelenos are also more likely to use integrative health or alternative medicine. Thirty-one percent of LA residents engage in integrative health compared to 21% in Boston. Boston, though, is much more diligent about getting regular medical check-ups. Sixty-four percent of folks in the New England metro are going to the doctor regularly compared to 55% of their LA rivals. Boston blocks the extra point.
We’re tied up before half-time.
3rd Quarter: Who spends more on health and wellness?
Though they were able to take five during Maroon 5, both teams are feeling pretty spent already at the top of the third quarter. When it comes to spending on fitness, the average person in LA spends $368 a year compared to the average $308 spent annually in Boston.
Boston intercepts and spends more on beauty, on average than LA. The average yearly spend in Boston is $478 compared to LA’s $460.
LA, in a quick play, takes possession yet again, investing $347 a year on integrative health, outspending Boston’s annual $291.
With third quarter nearly over, time is running out for both teams. Time, along with money, is cited as a top obstacle in trying to lead a healthy life. While about an equal number of Boston and Los Angeles residents claim money is an issue (at 42% and 43%, respectively), 42% of Boston residents say time is an issue to leading a healthier life compared to only 28% of LA residents.
More Bostonians find it difficult to hold themselves accountable than their counterparts in LA as well (23% compared to 15%). Eighteen percent of Bostonians also say they lack support when only 12% of Angelenos say the same. Other obstacles prove to be about equally troubling for both cities. That’s a touchdown and extra point for LA.
LA’s up 13-6.
4th Quarter: Who can overcome constraints on healthy living and who's more stressed?
Things are stressful come 4th quarter, and people in Boston report feeling more stressed than their Los Angeles counterparts. Twenty-nine percent of Bostonians say they’re very or extremely stressed. Only 18% of Angelenos say the same.
A Hail Mary is Boston’s last chance! LA is more spiritually fulfilled than Boston. Half of Angelenos say they’re spiritually fulfilled versus 40% of people from Boston. Los Angeles has the ball.
In an amazing final minute, Los Angeles marches down the field toward the end zone. Los Angeles is more satisfied with overall health. Thirty-three percent of Los Angeles residents say they’re very or extremely satisfied with their overall health. Only 24% of people living in Boston report the same level of satisfaction.
With a last-minute touchdown, LA defeats Boston, winning this Big Game of healthy habits—for this year at least.