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“We have opened or renovated more than 70 acres of new parkland. We are opening community gardens at day-care centers. We are home to North America’s largest fuel cell, which powers 15,000 homes with clean energy. And, we’ll soon be home to thousands of solar panels and another fuel cell atop an old and unused landfill. We are committed to lead the nation by example, and we are doing just that.” – Mayor Finch

BRIDGEPORT, CONN. (APRIL 8, 2015) – Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch announced today that the state’s largest city was chosen as a finalist for the third annual Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Health Prize, which honors communities whose efforts illustrate an enduring commitment toward building a culture of health for all residents.

And, earlier this week, Bridgeport was named one of the top 10 healthiest cities in America by

“I’m proud of what we have accomplished making our community healthier. We have opened or renovated more than 70 acres of new parkland. We are opening community gardens at day-care centers. We are home to North America’s largest fuel cell, which powers 15,000 homes with clean energy,” said Mayor Bill Finch. “And, we’ll soon be home to thousands of solar panels and another fuel cell atop an old and unused landfill.”

“We are committed to lead the nation by example, and we are doing just that,” added Mayor Finch.

The Park City hosts 46 parks covering nearly 1,356 acres, and under Mayor Finch’s administration has initiated a Healthy Corner campaign in an effort to make sure residents across the city have access to healthy foods. The city’s Health Department, working with child care centers, has created community gardens and hosts workshops with kids and parents about healthy cooking.

“To ensure a healthy community, we need to work as a community,” said Mayor Finch. “We are working to create a city that is bikeable and walkable and are creating walking paths along the waterfront. As a city with two highways running through it, we need to work harder and be even more creative.”

For example, the city in coordination with its Downtown Farmer’s Market promotes healthy eating through an annual Green Chef competition in which local restaurants cook healthy meals using fresh produce purchased from local gardens.

Some of the city’s top chefs create healthful entrees right at McLevy Green during a Food Day celebration.


Selected from more than 340 communities across the country, Bridgeport joins 14 other finalist communities. Winners will be announced this fall.

To earn Prize finalist status, Bridgeport had to demonstrate how its efforts to improve health outcomes for residents reflect the six RWJF Culture of Health Prize criteria, which include:

  • Defining health in the broadest possible terms.
  • Committing to sustainable systems changes and policy-oriented long-term solutions.
  • Cultivating a shared and deeply-held belief in the importance of equal opportunity for health.
  • Harnessing the collective power of leaders, partners, and community members.
  • Securing and making the most of available resources.
  • Measuring and sharing progress and results.

“The RWJF Culture of Health Prize finalists is transforming communities, make them healthier places to raise a family, provide jobs, and educate their children,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, RWJF president and CEO. “These inspiring finalists are one step closer to being named 2015 Prize winners this fall.”

The RWJF Culture of Health Prize is one pillar of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program, collaboration between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The Rankings show communities where they can improve; the Roadmaps show communities how to take action to expand opportunities for healthier choices, and the Prize honors communities that represent solutions-driven leadership at its finest. Together, these pillars serve as a platform for the Foundation’s vision to build a Culture of Health, now and for generations to come.

Find out more at and


This is what had to say about Bridgeport:

“A plethora of parkland, clean drinking water, easy access to healthy foods and hospitals, along with a high doctor-to-resident ratio make Bridgeport, Conn., one of the Top 10 Healthiest Cities in the country. Fairfield County, which includes Bridgeport, ranks as the top county in Connecticut when it comes to healthy behaviors like eating right, exercising and not smoking, according to County Health Rankings.

“Healthy eating and exercise help keep the city’s percentage of obese residents low compared to the rest of the nation.

“Many Bridgeport residents utilize the city’s 1,300 acres of park space in addition to beaches along the Long Island Sound and walking trails that follow the Pequonnock River to stay active. A handful of private workout facilities in Bridgeport offer CrossFit, Pilates, weight training and various martial arts.

“The Long Island Sound presents opportunities for sailing, fishing, swimming and scuba diving. Black Rock Harbor bustles with activity on warm sunny days. Families navigate through ropes courses and speed down ziplines at The Adventure Park at The Discovery Museum, one of the many things to do in Bridgeport.

“Vegetarian restaurants like Shandal’s Cafe and Bloodroot provide healthy options for those counting calories and watching their cholesterol. Residents can easily find fresh fish and seafood, often pulled from the sea just hours before landing in local markets. Nearby farmers markets and farms offer a variety of locally grown fruits and vegetables.

“There are two ways to look at a great healthy city. The first and obvious way is to look for cities with the best health care in terms of access, quality and affordability. The second is to dive a little deeper into how the city promotes and enables a healthy lifestyle for its residents. For our Top 10 Healthiest Cities, we looked at both sides of the equation. 

“To find places with quality and affordable health care, we looked at data compiled by the County Healthcare Rankings as well as spending data from Esri. We analyzed several measures of healthy communities such as the adult obesity rate, the percent of residents with access to healthy food and other stats. We also factored in the number of hospitals, ratio of doctors to residents and more. 

“Then we looked at how residents are living in the space. Does the city have the right infrastructure to promote healthy living, like access to farmers markets and parks. Is the city walkable? Do people take advantage of that by walking and biking to work when possible? Are there man-made amenities, such as golf courses, and natural amenities, too? Additionally, we pulled in some data from the EPA about the environmental components of a healthy city such as clean air and water. 

“Finally, we looked over the data-driven shortlist to find a good mix of cities by size, geography and other considerations to come up with our best top 10. Check out our list of Healthiest Cities and see how we did.”

Here is the list of the 10 healthiest cities in America, according to

Top 10 Healthiest Cities, 2015

  1. Minneapolis, MN
  2. Cambridge, MA
  3. Madison, WI
  4. Miami, FL
  5. Bridgeport, CT
  6. Arlington, VA
  7. Santa Ana, CA
  8. Honolulu, HI
  9. Fort Collins, CO
  10. Yonkers, NY

“We’re working hard every day to make Bridgeport a place where people want to raise their kids and their grandkids and open businesses. We know we still have work to do, but we are making progress,” said Mayor Finch. “But, we are heading in the right direction. This study is just another illustration that we are turning the corner.”