City Living

Life in the Big City: Desperate for Air (and Green Leaves)

Chop't

Exhibit A: A Chop't restaurant. Exhibit B: Elixirs to cheat metro-death. hide caption

itoggle caption

Is living in a city healthy for its inhabitants? Lots of studies list the benefits of city life — chief among them, the 8 to 10 pounds urbanites keep off by walking all over the place. There are other perks, too, like centralized healthcare and a sense of community.

But when I walk around most big cities, I rarely think, "Damn, these are some healthy people." This time of year, they just seem pale, and maybe a little out of it.

Many of us struggle to live well in cramped communities. It's hard to find plentiful fresh air and sunshine in a city. When you do, it's often a matter of minutes before you're surrounded by thousands of your fellow-citizens.

From what I've seen, city-livers agree with me, at least somewhat. How else can you explain all the health-food stores, the vitamin-enhanced foods and places like Chop't, the post-Atkins salad joint that is spreading out after starting in New York?

People living in cities have long suspected that walking a lot is not enough. Neither is being too busy to eat their way through five hours of TV. So, they turn to things that are undeniably good for you: salad, proteins, juice.

After huffing the same air as thousands of train-riders and eating a street-vendor lunch, who can blame them for trying to stack the deck in their favor?

Maybe that's why last year, New Yorkers were touted for living a long time.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.