Your ZIP code could be a more important indicator of health than your genetic code, according to a study recently released by Virginia Commonwealth University and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. That’s because factors such affordable and quality housing, good schools, good jobs, and access to healthy foods can trump your genes when it comes to life expectancy.
For Scottsdale residents, the study is good news. Scottsdale has some of the safest and most desirable neighborhoods in the Valley, including Grayhawk, Troon North, DC Ranch, McDowell Mountain Ranch, McCormick Ranch, and Gainey Ranch.
Scottsdale schools also rank among the best in the state. The Arizona Department of Education gives Cherokee Elementary School, Chaparral High School, Arcadia High School, and Desert Mountain High School top marks for excellence, not to mention all of the other Scottsdale Unified School District schools that received “A” ratings. Likewise, U.S. News and World Report named BASIS Scottsdale the best high school in Arizona.
Good jobs are also readily available in Scottsdale. Top employers in Scottsdale include Mayo Clinic, General Dynamics, CVS Caremark, Go Daddy, and The Vanguard Group. Add major employers such as Bank of America, US Airways, and Intel Corp. in neighboring communities, as well as State Farm Insurance Company, which will soon move its headquarters to nearby Tempe and there is no shortage of jobs to be had.
Scottsdale residents have access to excellent healthcare, as well. The nationally renowned Mayo Clinic specializes in 12 areas, including cancer, cardiology, diabetes, neurology, and geriatrics. HonorHealth, formed by the merger of Scottsdale Healthcare and the John C. Lincoln Health Network, also serves the city with three exceptional hospitals: Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center, Scottsdale Shea Medical Center, and Scottsdale Thompson Peak Medical Center, the latter of which is only a couple of miles west of DC Ranch and Grayhawk.
There are plenty of opportunities to stay healthy in Scottsdale, too. Residents can walk and bicycle along the Arizona Canal Trail through Scottsdale or on paths through their own neighborhoods. The more adventurous can hike and mountain bike the trails in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, Cave Creek Regional Park, and McDowell Mountain Regional Park. For a little less strenuous outing, you can also get some exercise golfing at one of the nearly 200 Scottsdale-area courses.
Scottsdale is also known for its exceptional parks and recreation department, which has classes geared towards keeping residents—from infants and tots to seniors—active. In addition to sponsoring sports leagues for every sport from baseball to kickball, the department also maintains the 71-acre Scottsdale Sports Complex designed for field sports such as soccer, lacrosse, football, and rugby. Scottsdale also has several aquatic centers and parks, including McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park, which has model railroads, railroad cars, an antique carousel, an arboretum, and two playgrounds with slides, swings, and ladders.
You can even take your health a step further by eating nutritious foods in Scottsdale. There are several farmers markets held weekly throughout Scottsdale: the Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market, Arcadia Farmers’ Market, and North Scottsdale Farmers Market, to name a few. Plus, you’ll find three Sprouts Farmers Markets in Scottsdale, and two Whole Foods Markets (one in Scottsdale and one in Paradise Valley).
The ZIP code study indicates that all these opportunities for healthy living make a big difference. It found that babies born in the Scottsdale ZIP code of 85258, for example, are expected to live 14 years longer than babies born in the Valley ZIP code with the shortest life expectancy, 85004.
So, the next time you think about purchasing a new home, take a long look at the area and the opportunities for healthy living that are available there. Choosing to live in a city like Scottsdale may add years to your life.