Prevention magazine recently released the top 25 happiest and healthiest cities in the United States, based on its evaluation of 100 of the country's largest cities.
The study conducted 48 measures of health, happiness and well-being to determine the results.
"We looked at the grim: disease incidence, depression measures, unemployment rates, even FBI crime statistics," Sarah Mahoney and Susan Coene said in their online list.
After evaluating their data, Mahoney and Coene concluded that San Jose, Calif., was the healthiest and happiest city in the nation, with Salt Lake City behind it in second place. The reason for listing the Utah city so high was because of the city's low cancer rates, as well as its No. 1 ranking in cancer-survival rates.
"Cancer must hate Salt Lake," the Prevention article said. "Thanks to the influence of the Mormons, people in this city are both clean living and much younger than in other places in the United States."10 comments on this story
Huntsman Cancer Institute's Anna Beck, M.D., spoke with Prevention regarding the Mormon influence.
"The most obvious reason is that the predominant religion doesn't endorse drinking or smoking," Beck said, "so that cuts down on cancer incidence. And when people do get sick, it often means they were healthier in the first place, so their chances of recovery are also better."
Fargo, N.D., also made the list due to religious practices. The city was listed at No. 6 because of its regular church attendance.