Vermont Regains Title of Healthiest State in the Country | True 802 | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Vermont Regains Title of Healthiest State in the Country


Published December 11, 2019 at 10:00 a.m.
Updated December 13, 2019 at 11:49 a.m.

  • Bryan Parmelee | Dreamstime

Vermont can once again proclaim itself the healthiest state in the country. That's according to the United Health Foundation's America's Health Rankings annual report, which shows that Vermont leapfrogged Hawaii, Massachusetts and Connecticut en route to its first No. 1 ranking since 2012. 

A low percentage of uninsured people and a nearly 50 percent drop in health disparities between various population groups helped propel Vermont to the top. The state has also made progress on smoking cessation and childhood poverty rates.

Other bright spots come with some caveats. 

The state's obesity rate, for example, ranks eighth overall, but the report looked only at adults. A recent study from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation showed that Vermont ranked 20th for childhood obesity.

The state also remains one of the safest, despite the fact that its rate of violent crime has increased 46 percent since 2016. Vermonters are better at avoiding chlamydia than residents of other states, though cases are up over the last year.

"We are No. 1 overall, but in some measures, relative to other states, we may only be doing less badly," said Health Commissioner Mark Levine in a press release. "Bending the curve on unhealthy behaviors and outcomes is difficult, and we have a great deal more work to do."

That includes Vermont's drug-related deaths, which now outpace the national average, as well as high rates of work-related fatalities, cancer deaths and whooping cough, according to the report. 

Still, based on the overall findings, Levine said Vermonters can "take great pride in where we stand today."

Tempted to raise a glass to the news? Aim for moderation. Vermont ranks 30th in the country for excessive drinking.