The larger and more dense the urban county, the greater the percentage of residents who practice healthy habits, according to a study by the CDC. The habits examined by the CDC were smoking, drinking (moderately or not at all), maintaining normal body weight, meeting aerobic physical activity recommendations, and getting enough sleep. While differences by type of county were not large, they were statistically significant...
Percent of resident who practice at least 4 of 5 healthy behaviors, by county type
Large metropolitan center counties: 31.7%
Large fringe metropolitan counties: 30.2%
Median metropolitan counties: 30.5%
Small metropolitan counties: 29.5%
Micropolitan counties: 28.8%
Rural counties: 27.0%
Even after controlling for demographic characteristics, the pattern is the same. "Evidence-based strategies to improve the health-related behaviors of persons living in rural areas in the United States should be widely implemented," the report concludes.
Source: CDC, Health-Related Behaviors by Urban-Rural County Classification—United States, 2013