San Francisco is the city that knows how — to stay young 

Ready to live YOUR life to the youngest? Head to San Francisco, Salt Lake City, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn., or Austin, Texas. All earned top spots on RealAge’s 2012 Youngest Cities in America list.

The top 10 metro areas enjoy such healthy lifestyles that on average their residents are physically at least two years younger than their chronological age — and many are years younger than that. Follow their lead, and you’ll live longer without leaving your hometown.

Making the RealAge top-10 list is like winning an Academy Award and the Super Bowl — it’s that tough! We analyzed data from the nation’s 50 largest metropolitan areas. Our source: results from some of the 28 million people who’ve taken the RealAge test, which Dr. Mike pioneered.

What traits separate the residents of the youngest cities from residents of those that make you older? We looked closely at 22 factors that slow or speed aging — from diet and exercise to optimism and smoking — and discovered some surprises.

A zeal for fruit and veggies plus stellar LDL cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar numbers catapulted San Francisco into first place. Happy marriages and low smoking rates contributed to Salt Lake City’s No. 2 ranking.

A trifecta of troubles — extremely high rates of diabetes, high LDL cholesterol and high blood pressure — pushed Louisville, Ky., and Memphis, Tenn., to the bottom. The last-place finish for Knoxville, Tenn., (yep, again) was due to bottom-10 positions for those health risks plus a last-place finish for exercise.

Among your most important stay-young factors:

Better blood pressure. Minneapolis (fourth-youngest) had the nation’s best blood pressure levels; Knoxville (the oldest) came in last.

A joyful marriage. Raleigh, N.C., (sixth-youngest) and Minneapolis (10th-youngest) are great places to enjoy marriage.

Enough vitamin D-3. This major anti-ager protects against brittle bones, heart attacks, strokes and some cancers. Some of the youngest cities are far north, including Boston, Minneapolis and Seattle — meaning residents often don’t get enough sunshine to activate their skin’s D-3 factory. People in those places clearly take their supplements!

Less sitting, more moving. Nine of the 10 oldest cities are among the least physically active. By comparison, eight of the 10 youngest cities move the most.

Not lighting up. The three youngest cities had the lowest smoking rates. Enough said.

What about sex? Satisfaction between the sheets gave women in Knoxville and men in San Diego a real advantage.

The take-home lesson? While we’ve all got room for improvement, we’ve also all got health strengths that let us live younger than our years. It’s really quite simple: If you can read this, you can get younger.

The YOU Docs — Mehmet Oz, host of “The Dr. Oz Show,” and Mike Roizen of the Cleveland Clinic — are the authors of “YOU: Losing Weight.” To submit questions, go to www.RealAge.com.

Urban renewal

Youngest RealAge Cities for 2012
1. San Francisco
2. Salt Lake City
3. San Diego
4. Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn.
5. Denver
6. Raleigh, N.C.
7. Boston
8. Austin, Texas
9. Washington, D.C.-Baltimore
10. Los Angeles

Oldest RealAge Cities for 2012
1. Knoxville, Tenn.
2. Louisville, Ky.
3. Memphis, Tenn.
4. Oklahoma City
5. Indianapolis
6. Greensboro, N.C.
7. Nashville, Tenn.
8. Greenville, S.C.
9. Cincinnati
10. Columbus, Ohio

To find out your RealAge, go to www.RealAge.com.

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