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AARP The Magazine Names the Top 10 Healthiest Places to Live in America

July 23, 2008

Contact: Michelle Alvarez, AARP, 202-434-2560,

AARP The Magazine, the definitive voice for 50+ Americans and the world’s largest-circulation magazine with more than 34 million readers, today announced the top ten healthiest cities to live and retire in with Ann Arbor, MI, Honolulu, HI, Madison, WI, Santa Fe, NM, and Fargo, ND taking the top five rankings. Featured in the September/October issue, the magazine also named five additional cities that received high marks for vitality and great living conditions including Boulder, CO, Charlottesville, VA, San Francisco Bay Area, Minneapolis–St. Paul, MN, and Naples-Marco Island, FL.

AARP The Magazine evaluated over 20 measures of vitality to help make its decisions and incorporated not only the physical aspects of a community (clean air and water), but also the health and habits of people who live there, taking into special consideration the health needs of people age 50+. Communities were chosen based on various criteria including opportunities for exercise, number of doctors in the area, availability of healthcare, diagnosis of health problems, healthy eating habits, and more. The magazine also evaluated quality of life measures such as housing affordability, the local economy, educational resources, crime, climate, recreational amenities, and arts and culture to help make their selections.

“The cities we chose are ahead of the healthy living curve with access to healthcare facilities, numerous options for exercise, activities, volunteerism, and a culture that supports vitality,” said Nancy Graham, Acting Editor of AARP The Magazine. “This has become one of AARP The Magazine’s most popular annual features and it’s exciting to be the authority on the top cities for retirement at a time when more Americans than ever are approaching that milestone.”

AARP The Magazine’s Top 10 Healthiest Cities to Live and Retire for 2008:

1. Ann Arbor, Michigan: Fully 86% of residents exercise daily; the city boasts 580 physicians per 100,000 people, compared to the U.S. average of 223; it is home to The University of Michigan Health Center – one of the largest university medical centers in the world and creator of the first human genetics program in the U.S. in 1940.

2. Honolulu, Hawaii: An impressive 95% of residents are covered by health insurance; residents spend more time exercising than almost any other city surveyed; locals have one of the highest rates of life expectancy among surveyed cities.

3. Madison, Wisconsin: Residents have low rates of diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol; here you’ll find big city advantages with a small-town feel; Madison hosts an extensive bus system, numerous bike trails and a wide-range of sporting activities.

4. Santa Fe, New Mexico: The city ranked #2 in the U.S. in air quality by the American Lung Association; the rates of diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol are among the lowest in the country, in part because of a city-funded health campaign aimed at older residents.

5. Fargo, North Dakota: Ranks #9 in the nation for regular flossing and brushing; it has one of the best air-quality-index scores, uses biodiesel fuel to power its transit buses, and it has made a serious commitment to incorporate methane-powered generators, solar panels, and wind generators into the city’s infrastructure.

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