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Monday, July 22, 2024

Davis ranks 15th healthiest college town in the U.S.

The study from Broke Scholar included physical, mental and social health factors to determine the healthiest college towns for students


By KAYA DO-KHANH — campus@theaggie.org

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On Feb. 7, UC Davis was ranked the 15th healthiest college town out of 148 cities that are home to the nation’s top four-year public universities. The study, done by Broke Scholar, sought to identify the healthiest college towns for Gen Z university students.

“We looked at America’s top college towns to see which ones backed students with the resources needed to thrive, both physically and mentally,” said Dr. Jessica Sharem, who was heavily involved in the project. 

Davis was one of the six college towns in California to rank in the top 25 healthiest college towns. Berkeley was ranked third, Santa Cruz eighth, Fullerton 13th, San Francisco 20th and Irvine 24th. 

The researchers of the study looked at three categories to determine the healthiest college towns in America: physical, mental and social health measures. Davis’s physical health score was 7.4 out of 10, based on factors ranging from percentages of binge drinking to adequate sleep. These data, according to the methodology section of the study, was collected using county health rankings.

In Yolo County, 33% of adults reported getting less than seven hours of sleep per night on average, according to the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps program (CHR&R). In regards to excessive drinking in Yolo County, 19% of adults reported binge or heavy drinking. Additional physical health factors that were analyzed for the study include the concentration of fitness centers and the frequency of walking and biking. 

“I am not surprised that we rank high on physical wellness as we have implemented many programs to supplement our already bike- and pedestrian-friendly Davis campus and city of Davis and strong Health Education and Promotion department,” said co-lead of the Healthy UC Davis Steering Committee Stacey Brezing via email. 

The Healthy UC Davis initiative is made up of a steering committee that offers support and resources to members of the UC Davis community to “help them live healthier lives,” according to their website. One of the programs led by Healthy UC Davis includes Active Aggies Mobile, which is intended to make engaging in physical activity simpler by creating more workout classes around campus in places other than the ARC.

“Healthy UC Davis aims to make the University of California ‘the healthiest place to live, work and learn’ by investing in meaningful shifts in our environment that produce a lasting culture of health and well-being for the entire UC community,” said the Coordinator of the Living Well Program for Campus Recreation Eric Chen via email. 

For the category of mental health, Davis scored a 2.7, which is based on factors such as  the number of residents reporting poor mental health days and the concentration of meditation and yoga studios. The category of environment and community health, in which Davis scored a 3.7, was based on factors such as access to natural grocery stores and farmers markets.

“Our Campus Recreation motto is ‘Come As You Are,’” Chen said. “We are welcoming to all and promote inclusive programs and healthy messaging like our nutrition seminars along with things from our partners on campus such as the Helmet Hair Don’t Care or Body inclusivity projects.”

Written by: Kaya Do-Khanh — campus@theaggie.org