The study looks not at people and the health outcomes of residents but instead place-based factors. Promotion, hindrance and recovery indicators are looked at to decide the healthy suburb score. Promotion indicators encourage a healthy lifestyle and engagement in healthy activities, indicators include walkability, active transport to work, open space, tree cover, access to fresh food/supermarkets and volunteering. Hindrance indicators measure elements which can counteract a residents ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle, taking into account the amount of fast food stores and liquor stores. Lastly, recovery indicators include places which help residents recover from illness or injury including hospitals and allied/community health.
Hawthorn, with a population of 23,508 accounting for 0.6% of Melbourne's entire population, received a 4.5 health star rating. Scoring the highest in tree cover, walkability and allied/community health.
Many of the suburbs which received 5 star ratings are highly concentrate in the inner north including Fitzroy, Brunswick, Collingwood, Carlton and Clifton Hill.