The newspaper in Santa Fe reported today on a survey by AARP about the 10 healthiest cities in the US. Santa Fe is ranked number 4. Number 1 is Ann Arbor, Michigan. Others are: Honolulu, Hawaii; Madison, Wisc.; Fargo, ND; Boulder, Colo.; Charlottesville, Va; Minneapolis, Minn.; San Francisco, Calif.; and Naples, Fla.. These places are supposed to be the healthiest and best places to retire.
People in these cities have lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol levels and less diabetes. Some on the list are a big surprise to me. For example, I’m surprised that the folks in Fargo even completed a survey because they don’t come outside but for about 10 minutes every year. The remainder of the time they are frozen in. The survey must have been conducted on line or by mail. There is only one city in the South on the list. Houston would be on the unhealthiest list because it was recently found to have the highest number of obese folks in the US. San Francisco was a surprise because I thought most of their population had AIDS.
Most of these cities have a low percentage of minorities, which may have influenced the results. These poor folks are always the sickest even though they spend a large part of their time in the Emergency Rooms around the country. I guess there are a lot of affluent folks in most of these cities and maybe that has something to do with it. The median cost of a home in Santa Fe is $499,000 and it’s over $900.000 in Honolulu. You have to be rich to live in those places.
I don’t think the availability of medical care has a lot to do with the findings. Santa Fe has a hospital but specialty care is limited. The folks in Santa Fe have to drive to Albuquerque for a lot of their care. Also, the air is pretty thin in Santa Fe which makes it a little difficult for old folks to breath. Most of the places on the list don’t have big time medical centers and that may be a factor in making people healthier. A few years ago the doctors in Canada went on strike for about three days and there was a precipitous drop in the death rate.
The survey probably doesn’t mean much. They are often wrong, especially when they involve medicine or politics. Many of my relatives are from around Richards, Texas. When I was a kid, it seemed like the average age of the folks around that town must have been near a hundred. They had an old time doctor who did a few home deliveries but not much else. The folks seemed pretty healthy because they worked all the time. I’ll beat the survey people never heard of Richards and things probably haven’t changed much there thought the years. Richards hasn’t had electricity or running water for very long and I’m not sure they have TV yet. I figure Richards has to be a healthy place to retire. In my book it would sure beat Fargo ND and some of the other places up north. I’ve often thought about moving the porch to Richards. I could probably stop taking my high blood pressure medicine and there I would even be allowed to shoot the deer and raise my tomatoes in peace.