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Akst: NYC looks out for health of its own

September 23, 2012
by Daniel Akst
Newsday

 

Cities have long been considered cesspools of ill health. Thisreflects more than just nostalgia for some imagined pastoral ideal; choked by crowding and pollution and beset by crime, urban life often really has been dangerous.

How strange, then, to find that America's largest city, though still noisy, dirty and crowded, nowadays is healthier than the country as a whole. More specifically, its residents live about 1.5 years longer than the U.S. average.

Dense, walkable communities like New York City are associated with better health. More transit, for instance, means fewer auto fatalities. Nor is this just about affluence; New York City households earn less than the U.S. average.

 

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