Illustrated By Anna Sudit.
Are you a salmon-eating, Sudoku-playing, fitness fiend with a stellar social life? Chances are there’s more of you along the East Coast. According to the 2014 America’s Brain Index, more East Coasters exhibit factors associated with healthier brains than West Coasters.
The index — which is part of the national health education campaign Beautiful Minds — examines 21 factors that contribute to brain health, including diet, social well-being, physical health, and mental health. The interactive map shows how each of the 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia ranked. Dark green states, indicating above average rankings, are more prominent on the East Coast; though, Washington, Alaska, and Colorado serve as outliers. Click on each state and you’ll find the brain-health strengths and weaknesses plus rankings from the past three years.
Turns out, seven of the top 10 states are located on the East Coast. Is it the frigid temps that grow East Coaster’s brain cells like wildfire? Is it that same stuff in New York City water that makes bagels taste so right? Not so much. Within each of the four main categories, the index referenced data on obesity rates, state education rankings, smoking rates, and prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease (among others). So, it’s not like moving to one of the top 10 states will miraculously improve brain function, but the index’s findings suggest maintaining a healthy brain may be an easier feat depending on the state you call home.