New York City, the land that hosts anything and everything when it comes to food, may leave many to assume that its residents are just as grand as the city’s dining options. Not only do the options seem infinite, but 24 hour delivery makes the accessibility almost too easy.
So why is it that New York is actually known to be one of the healthiest states in the United States? According to America’s Health Rankings 2013 Annual Report, New York state ranks at #15. In addition, a 2007 report by the New York City Department of Health showed that a New Yorker born in 2004 can expect to live 78.6 years, nine months longer than the average American.
With subway rides, cabs, and the corporate nature of sitting behind computers that the modern era has brought about, you may be surprised to learn that New York in fact has one of the lowest adult obesity rates in the nation at only 23.6%. Although, that number is still somewhat alarming when compared to countries like Denmark with an obesity report of a mere 9.5%, New York does beat most of the states by at least 10%.
For the new New Yorker, you might be wondering, “Well how exactly am I going to be healthy now all of a sudden that I am living here?” and to answer this, compiled are a list of little things that build up to make those big differences.
Here Are 7 things that leave a New Yorker accidentally healthy:
1. Healthy food options
While, yes, New York offers all the food imaginable, this also includes vast options of healthy choices. From juice bars to vegan cafés as well as wonderful salad and seafood restaurants, we are left with the choice of eating badly, or eating well.
Even though one week you may order in Chinese food every single day, the next week you might get the craving for spinach and avocado salads, or seaweed snacks from your local Asian supermarket.
2. The Water
New York has one of the cleanest water sources in the United States. Reservoir systems, lakes, aqueducts, tunnels and water mains distribute 1.3 billion gallons daily.
Chlorine is added to the water to kill bacteria, and fluoride is added to help prevent tooth decay. Drinking water for health is something we all already know, but drinking clean water is something we may often take for granted.
The amount we walk in New York, especially Manhattan or Brooklyn, is a lot more than we really notice. Walking just becomes so habitual, so instinctual. Everything is pretty close by, and a 20 minute walk is more than do-able. The old stereotype of New Yorkers as fast walkers, may have stemmed from the inevitable busy schedule, but a lot of it comes from habit.
Most of the time when I am heading somewhere, I am not necessarily late, but I just want to get there efficiently. Power-walking has become more of a skill, rather than a statement of hurry.
Although, admittedly, I am often late for things too. In addition, living in New York, despite being surrounded by so many people, can leave one feeling lonely. As a consequence, many adopt dogs and walk around their neighborhoods on a regular basis.
4. Gyms and fitness classes
Not everybody, but many are apart of different athletic facilities or classes, and attend them on a regular basis. Walking down 5 blocks in Manhattan, one will inevitably spot a gym or a dance or yoga studio.
People like to be apart of something, and since there are so many cheap options, let alone free ones, people are often quite active. Most universities also include free gyms for their students.
5. Decrease of air pollution
Quite sadly, we cannot see the starry night sky that many other places can. This, however, is not due so much to air-pollution, as it is due to light-pollution.
The city never sleeps, as can be exemplified by the twinkle of skyscrapers, the changing colors of street lights, and the honks of cabs that shine avenues with dim yellow and orange glows in the dead of night. This all takes away the privilege of a beautiful night sky.
The good thing is, air pollution has decreased in New York in the past 5 years 11.7 to 9 micrograms of fine particulate per cubic meter. The city is not the healthiest to breathe in, but it is getting cleaner by the year. Rejoice.
6. Less tobacco smoke
A large proportion of New Yorkers are smokers. However, the 2003 smoking ban has decreased second-hand smoking related deaths by an estimated 10%.
In 2013, the extension of the smoking ban included a rise of the age limit of tobacco consumption from 18 to 21. Even the electronic cigarettes that emit water vapor have been included in the same restrictions as regular cigarettes.
While this may not be the best of news for all the smokers out there, it is great news for the majority of New Yorkers that get to enjoy that little added bit of cleaner, healthier air.
7. Psychology of believing
According to 2013 surveys, 56% of the New York adults with a high school education report “very good” or “excellent” health. Usually, reporting something positive does originate from a source of cause, however, often the cycle repeats all on its own.
Being active and health conscious to begin with, and then saying that you are, does not decrease the likelihood of staying in that same fortunate state of health. Fake it until you make it, as they say. But in order to “fake” it, it of course helps to also just be more health conscious.
None of this is to say that severe health issues are not of concern in New York. However, we can rejoice in the little things that do make staying fit and healthy just that little bit simpler.
Reading this while you eat Shake Shack? It is okay. Be happy. Enjoy that burger. But forget taking the subway home!
If you enjoyed this article, check out 6 Valid Reasons Why New Yorkers Have High Expectations!