Boston residents are among the healthiest in the nation, at least those who took the RealAge Test to determine if they're physiologically older, younger, or the same as their chronological age. From a health standpoint, Bostonians are, on average, a year younger than the year stamped on their birth certificates.
That's according to test results issued today by the RealAge folks based on a random sampling of 1,000 residents of the 50 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. Boston ranks #5 among cities after Salt Lake City, San Francisco, Austin, and Denver. Cities likely to make you old before your time? Knoxville, Greensboro, NC, and Nashville.
Cities deemed the "youngest to live in" aren't just those where residents eat organic and ride bikes to work -- though that helps -- but also have, among other things, the lowest smoking rates and cholesterol levels and the best sleep habits.
"Sleeping six to nine hours a night can make your RealAge as much as three years younger," the report reads.
Where Boston does best is for alcohol consumption -- at least among female drinkers who rank number one for all the cities. "Drinking about 1/2 a drink a day and avoiding binging altogether can slow aging," says Dr. Keith Roach, chief medical officer of RealAge and co-creator of the test. Boston men, known for their hard-drinking ways, don't rank in the top 10 in this particular category.
But both men and women of Boston rank among the top for income, sleep habits, and marital status -- meaning they're not as likely as those in other cities to be divorced or stuck in an unhappy marriage, both of which can subtract years.
Herd mentality dictates that those who dwell in one place tend to adopt the habits of their neighbors, but Roach says that's no excuse to be complacent. "The lifestyle that individuals choose to follow is, of course, far more important than the city where they reside."
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