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The Best 20 Cities for Men 2010

The definition of a great city has evolved throughout history. Once, it was defined by the capacity of its walls to withstand an onslaught of barbarian hordes. Later, a magnificent metropolis was viewed as one that not only protected its citizens from rape and pillage but also offered them indoor plumbing! Today, Men's Health believes that a great city for men must excel in 35 criteria, covering everything from air quality to employment, life expectancy to commute times. In other words, ancient Rome wouldn't have stood a chance.

For our ninth annual Best & Worst Cities for Men, we staged our biggest statistical showdown yet. In addition to the criteria we've already mentioned, we also compiled and calculated data on death rates from more than a half dozen causes, along with the propensity of male citizens to eat themselves into a weight problem (and not exercise their way out of it).

Of course, quality of life is as important as quantity, so we finished by factoring in the ratio of single women to single men. The winner? You. Because we didn't stop at pinpointing which cities are best for men—we also stole some of their secrets.

Seattle, WA

Overall ranking: 1 

Health: 1 Life: 44 Fitness: 9

Researchers at Central Connecticut State University ranked Seattle the most literate city of America's sixty-nine largest cities in 2005 and 2006, second most literate in 2007 (after Minneapolis), and tied with Minneapolis in 2008. Additionally, survey data from the United States Census Bureau indicate that as of 2003, Seattle had the highest percentage of college graduates among large American cities, with 51.6 percent of residents 25 and over holding at least a bachelor's degree. By 2008, this increased to 53.8 percent.

Madison, WI

Overall ranking: 2

Health: 8

Life: 5

Fitness: 17

Believe it or not, you can practically swear off salt and still have high blood pressure. How? By not consuming enough calcium. That's a deficiency the dairy addicts in Madison don't have to worry about. "When you have low levels of calcium, your body releases hormones that increase blood pressure," says James Stein, M.D., director of the preventive cardiology program at the University of Wisconsin hospital and clinics in Madison. To keep your calcium level as high as a cheese head's, try to eat at least 2 to 3 servings of dairy a day. (One serving is about two slices of cheese or an 8-ounce cup of milk or yogurt.)

San Jose, CA

Overall ranking: 3

Health: 2

Life: 66

Fitness: 4

Of all the sights you can see in San Jose, the "Rotund Resident" may be the rarest. In fact, obese people are so scarce here it's hard not to wonder what's going on. One possibility: "San Jose is relatively close to the ocean, so people eat a lot of fresh seafood, which is low in calories," says Marjorie Freedman, Ph.D., an assistant professor of nutrition and food science at San Jose State University. "And fish isn't usually prepared with heavy sauces, nor is it served with french fries--it's usually paired with vegetables.

Fargo, ND

Overall ranking: 4

Health: 14

Life: 2

Fitness: 20

Completing a marathon in Fargo may not have the same cardio cachet as running one in New York City, but the health benefit is the same: a lower risk of diabetes. And the more you run, the more that risk goes down, which may be why so few men in Fargo die of the disease. "The city hosts many races, be they 5-Ks, half marathons. or full marathons," says Jagdish Singh, Ph.D., a diabetes researcher at North Dakota State University. Join the pack in your town for five 30-minute runs a week; this amount of training has been shown (along with changes in diet) to slash diabetes risk by 58 percent, according to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Burlington, VT

Overall ranking: 5

Health: 3

Life: 11

Fitness: 35

Manchester, NH

Overall ranking: 6

Health: 5

Life: 12

Fitness: 28

Sure, prostate-cancer tests have their shortfalls, but you can't beat the disease until you detect it. Just look at Manchester, where men have one of the lowest death rates from prostate cancer among our cities, thanks in part to a local hospital's key initiative. "Every September, Elliot Hospital in Manchester hosts a free prostate-cancer screening that provides information, PSA screening, and digital rectal exams," says Jo-Ann O'Connell, M.S., R.N., a clinical nurse manager at Elliot Hospital's Max K. Willscher Urology Center.

Minneapolis, MN

Overall ranking: 7

Health: 6

Life: 52

Fitness: 7

Salt Lake City, UT

Overall ranking: 8

Health: 4

Life: 54

Fitness: 13

Lincoln, NE

Overall ranking: 9

Health: 13

Life: 3

Fitness: 37

Apparently, the word "workout" isn't in the vocabulary of Cornhuskers: They call exercise "play," which may explain why they're among the most active citizens in our rankings. "You're more likely to keep exercising if you're doing something you enjoy and can socialize with your friends," says Shinya Takahashi, Ph.D.(c), C.S.C.S., a strength and conditioning coordinator at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. Were the times you've skipped the gym due to boredom? If so, join a Y sports team, or organize a weekly hoops game—heck, it works for the president.

Austin, TX

Overall ranking: 10

Health: 16

Life: 20

Fitness: 6

Aurora, CO

Overall ranking: 11

Health: 19

Life: 43

Fitness: 1

Anchorage, AK

Overall ranking: 12

Health: 43

Life: 10

Fitness: 8

Yonkers, NY

Overall ranking: 14

Health: 9

Life: 32

Fitness: 45

Colorado Springs, CO

Overall ranking: 15

Health: 34

Life: 21

Fitness: 11

Virginia Beach, VA

Overall ranking: 16

Health: 21

Life: 13

Fitness: 30

Anaheim, CA

Overall ranking: 17

Health: 7

Life: 86

Fitness: 14

St. Paul, MN

Overall ranking: 18

Health: 23

Life: 30

Fitness: 19

Rochester, NY

Overall ranking: 19

Health: 11

Life: 26

Fitness: 53

San Diego, CA

Overall ranking: 20

Health: 15

Life: 74

Fitness: 3










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