The "Vitality Project" was spearheaded in Albert Lea, Minn., by AARP and United Health Foundation.
Adventurer and travel writer Dan Buettner hatched the idea and oversaw the project after identifying areas around the world where people live longer and healthier lives.
Albert Lea worked to make exercise easier for its 18,000 residents. Restaurants added healthier menu options and grocery stores showcased wholesome foods.
Organizers say the experiment added an average 3.1 years the lives of residents who answered 36 questions dubbed the "vitality compass" at the project's beginning and end.