Shoppers browse for tomatoes at the City of Falls Church, Virginia, Farmers Market in April. The city topped a new list of healthy communities from U.S. News & World Report and Aetna Foundation. The list ranks 3,000 U.S. communities. APHA photo by Michele Late/The Nation's Health

Shoppers browse for tomatoes at the City of Falls Church, Virginia, Farmers Market in April. The city topped a new list of healthy communities from U.S. News & World Report and Aetna Foundation. The list ranks 3,000 U.S. communities. APHA photo by Michele Late/The Nation’s Health

Falls Church, Virginia, is only two square miles, but the tiny city has a huge designation: It has been named the healthiest community in the U.S.

Falls Church tops the U.S. News & World Report and Aetna Foundation’s inaugural Healthiest Communities rankings, an analysis of nearly 3,000 communities across the country on a wide range of health markers, such as education, income, public safety, walkability and bikeability, life expectancy, transportation and infrastructure. The top 500 communities are ranked in order, and data from all 3,000 are online now.

Falls Church was No. 1, as it scored in the top three communities on education, economy and public safety. A suburb of Washington, D.C., the city is home to 14,000 people. Many of the adults in the city have advanced degrees and high incomes. But they are also invested in their community, said Nancy Vincent, MPA, director of the Falls Church Department of Housing and Human Services.

“This is a very active community,” Vincent told The Nation’s Health. “There’s many boards and commissions and community groups that are all well staffed by participants in the programs, serving on the boards that provide the services. That’s a big factor in my mind.”

To continue reading this story from the June 2018 issue of The Nation’s Health, visit the newspaper online.