Physical Well-Being

Pinpoint Shadow  Examine Statistics on Physical Well-Being in Tucson, Arizona MSA

How are we doing?

Percent of the Population Who Reported Good or Excellent Health (2020)

Physical Well Being Metros 2020


In 2020, 85.3% of the Tucson Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA) population reported good or excellent health. That ranked Tucson ninth among peer western communities and below the national rate. Denver ranked first with 89.8% of the population reporting good or excellent health, while El Paso’s rate of 77.2% placed it last and off the gauge. Tucson’s percentage of the population that reported good or excellent health increased by nearly five percentage points from the previous year.

Why is it important?

Many factors determine one’s health and well-being. An individual’s health plays an important role in their quality of life. Additionally, diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and obesity have high financial costs for the nation. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. Regular physical activity plays an important role in the prevention of many health-related diseases including heart disease. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines regular physical activity as participation in moderate and vigorous physical activities as well as muscle-strengthening activities. According to data collected in 2015 for the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) nearly 80% of adults in the U.S. do not meet the guidelines for both aerobic and muscle-strengthening activities. Health data is vital to identify emerging health problems and trends. Additionally, health data can be used to identify areas where public health policies may be needed and to evaluate existing programs.

How do we compare?

Residents living in the Tucson MSA reported an average of 3.4 poor physical health days per month. Tucson ranked ninth among peer western metropolitan areas. Those living in Denver reported the least number of poor physical health days during 2020 at 2.7 per month, while residents who live in El Paso reported the highest number of poor physical health days at 3.9.

In 2021, the reported incidence of heart conditions, both heart attacks and coronary heart disease, in the state of Arizona were comparable to the nation. The latest data available for Tucson from the BRFSS is from 2012 when the reported rate for heart attacks was 3.3% and coronary heart disease was 3.9%.

Among the 12 western metropolitan areas, Tucson’s residents had the sixth-lowest prevalence of obesity in 2020 at 29.3%. That placed Tucson in the middle of peer MSAs. Denver residents posted the lowest rate at 24.0% followed by Colorado Springs at 26.9%. The state of Texas had two metropolitan areas with high rates of obesity when compared to other peer communities in the West. San Antonio had the highest rate among all the metropolitan areas at 38.9% and El Paso had the second-highest rate at 37.7%. 

The percentage of the population who had a diagnosed prevalence of diabetes in 2020 ranged from 7.6 to 15.8 percent among the western metropolitan areas. Tucson’s rate of 9.1% ranked it fifth, with Denver posting the lowest prevalence at 7.6% and El Paso the highest at 15.8%.

What are the key trends?

In 2020, the percentage of the population that reported good or excellent health in the Tucson MSA was lower than the state and nation. The percentage of residents in Tucson that report good or excellent health over the past few years has generally been near 84.0% but significantly declined between 2017 -2019. The percent of the population that reported good or excellent health in 2020 increased to the highest rate in 10 years. The nation has posted consistent rates of good or excellent health since 2011 with a significant uptick in 2020.

How is it measured?

A majority of the data reported in the Physical Well-Being indicator originates from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). The BRFSS is a health-related telephone survey that collects state data about U.S. residents regarding their health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventative services. The BRFSS data presented is collected from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the County Health Rankings.