Good news. Irvine has gained a new accolade, perhaps its most important.
Three recent studies – by Anthem Foundation’s “Fittest Cities in America,” Niche’s “Healthiest Places to Live in America,” and WalletHub’s “Healthiest U.S. Cities” – all ranked Irvine among America’s top 10 healthiest cities.
The studies found that residents are fitter and happier due to convenient access to the things that promote a healthy lifestyle, like parks, open space, bike trails and quality medical care.
The master-planned city was designed 60 years ago with a goal to create a place “where nature and people prosper,” and this balance benefits residents today.
A recent analysis shows that living within a 10-minute walk to a park makes you healthier – and happier. In Irvine, the average walk to a park is half that: just five minutes.
“That’s important,” says Dr. Sadiya Muqueeth, with The Trust for Public Land, which ranks Irvine’s parks the best in California. “A city like Irvine is essentially creating an environment where it’s easy for people to benefit from the value of parks and green space, much more than other cities.”
Irvine has more than 270 parks and thousands of acres of natural open space to stay active and healthy. “The value of all the green space is you have a place to walk to and destinations where you can spend leisurely time,” says Muqueeth, a Harvard-educated Doctor of Public Health. “It’s clear that Irvine is promoting health and well-being in the community.”
What does it mean to have one of America’s top research universities in your backyard?
“First,” says UC Irvine Vice Chancellor of Health Affairs Dr. Steve Goldstein, “Irvine residents have access to care that is provided only at the best institutions in the world. They don’t have to travel to L.A. or San Francisco or Boston because the best is here.”
Second, UC Irvine – named America’s No. 1 public university by Money magazine – trains about 2,500 future doctors, nurses and health care professionals each year. And most of them now practice in and around Irvine.
And third, UC Irvine researchers conduct hundreds of millions of dollars in medical research each year – improving lives, assisting Irvine’s med-tech industry and attracting the best minds to the city.
“UCI,” Goldstein says, “is a powerful contributor to this bit of paradise that is Irvine.”
Less than half of Orange County cities have a hospital. Irvine has two award-winning hospitals in the heart of the city – by design.
Hoag and Kaiser Permanente anchor the Sand Canyon Medical Corridor that was master-planned to put comprehensive medical care within a few minutes of everyone’s home.
Together, the hospitals provide more than 2,000 doctors and nurses in addition to a network of specialists, family doctors and osteopaths throughout the city.
“Irvine has Hoag, Kaiser Permanente, UC Irvine Health and MemorialCare, with a $1 billion City of Hope campus coming,” says Lucy Dunn, president and CEO of the Orange County Business Council.
“That’s the beauty of Irvine. It attracts the best and the brightest. Whoever your health care provider is – they’re already here.”
Irvine’s 400 medical technology companies offer 18,000 jobs and generate billions of dollars in economic activity – pushing medical research to the forefront in Irvine.
Allergan, a global leader in eye care, has developed products to protect and preserve vision for over 70 years. It is one of 50 eye-care companies that have made Irvine the recognized ophthalmology capital of the world.
Edwards Lifesciences invented the first successful heart valve in 1960. It has since helped millions of patients worldwide with leading heart-health technologies.
“I’m passionate about Irvine,” says Mike Mussallem, chairman and CEO of Edwards, Orange County’s largest publicly traded company. “There’s excellent talent in and around the city. That’s why we’ve always been in Irvine and why we chose to expand here.”