In a recent assessment of the country’s top 40 cities, Chicago was recognized as one of the five healthiest, earning the only gold medal in the Midwest.

CityHealth, a new initiative by the de Beaumont Foundation, looked at the top 40 cities on nine different policies to determine which has the strongest focus on improving health and well-being.

The nine policies included paid sick leave; high-quality, universal pre-kindergarten; affordable housing/inclusionary zoning; complete streets; alcohol sales control; tobacco 21; clean indoor air; food safety and restaurant inspection; and healthy food procurement. Chicago was one of the five cities to receive a gold medal in its overall ranking.

“This report confirms what we already know: Chicago is leading the nation when it comes to developing and implementing policies that make a difference in the lives of our residents,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement.

“From raising the purchasing age of tobacco to 21 to guaranteeing paid sick time for more workers; and delivering universal pre-k for low-income children and ensuring clean and pollution-free environments for all residents to enjoy-we are building in a healthier, stronger Chicago today and for future generations.”

With the Windy City’s recognition as the “Most Bike-Friendly City in the U.S.” last fall, Chicago’s gold in the “complete streets” category is no surprise; the category “assesses how well a city safely accommodates all modes of transportation – walking, biking, public transportation and driving,” Chicago Tonight reports.

However, Chicago received a silver medal in both paid sick leave policies and universal pre-kindergarten program. The assessment also reports that Chicago could improve policies ensuring healthy food potions in public places and restaurant inspections – more than half of the city’s high-risk food establishments did not fulfill the inspection requirements in 2015.


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