By now you may be thinking, I don’t live in any of those great places. Does that mean I’m doomed to a life of iii health? Of course not.
Although you may not be able to directly control the air quality or the number of health clinics in your area, you can make healthful decisions no matter where you live. Find a form of exercise you enjoy, and do it regularly. Avoid drugs. Eat right, get enough sleep, and see a doctor if you’re not feeling well. In many ways, your health hinges on the individual choices you make every day. So, no matter where you live, choose to live healthfully.
And the Winners Are …
1 Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minn.
The Twin Cities are among the least stressful in the country. Minneapolis is also considered the number-one place to get a good night’s sleep. Local folks watch the least amount of television; they’re too busy biking the area’s 50 miles of trails or boating on one of 22 local lakes.
2 Honolulu, Hawaii
Named Americas Fittest City by Men’s Fitness magazine, Honolulu boasts clean air and a temperate climate, both of which encourage residents to spend time at the 485 local beaches and parks. The city’s movie theaters show ads that promote healthful living along with film previews.
3 Boston, Mass.
Close to 90 percent of Beantown’s residents earn a high school diploma. That’s significant because statistics indicate that people with higher education levels are generally healthier than those with less schooling. Boston also has low rates of stress, crime, and obesity.
4 San Francisco, Calif.
Tops on the list of vegetarian-friendly towns, the City by the Bay gets high marks overall. It is the only city rated as an all-around great place to walk, run, and bike. California has State laws regulating tobacco use and smoke-free air.
5 Austin, Texas
The only Southern city to make our list, Austin leads the way among towns using renewable energy sources. Texas has one of the lowest rates of marijuana use among people age 12 and over. The state also has a zero-tolerance law for teens who drive under the influence of alcohol.
6 New York, N.Y.
The Big Apple has the largest percentage of open space and the second-lowest crime rate of our top 10 cities. And, thanks to a health-minded education system, gym class is mandatory for high school students,
7 Seattle, Wash.
Seattle leads major cities on the Kid Friendly Cities: Report Card 2004. That survey examined statistics on a wide variety of factors that affect kids and teens, including teen birth rates, povertylevels, growth of urban sprawl, and recycling policies. Seattle is also lauded as an outdoor city with both beaches and mountains.
8 Anaheim, Calif.
Of our top 10 cities, Anaheim is doing the best job controlling urban sprawl, leaving more open landfor use as parks. California scores points for efforts to fight obesity and for use of a safety-conscious graduated licensing system for teen drivers.
9 San Jose, Calif.
The safest large city in the nation, San Jose has both a low percentage of “disconnected teens and a high rate of high School graduates.
10. Portland, Ore.
Health-conscious Portland ranks in the top 10 in three areas: air quality, environmentally responsible building policies, and vegetarian restaurants. The city’s recreation department offers a variety of activities for teens, from whitewater kayaking trips to yoga classes.