November 17, 2008 in Nation/World

Vermont town in best shape

 
File Associated Press photo

In this April 9 photo, Katie Klingerman walks her dogs, Casey and Luna, along the waterfront in Burlington, Vt.
(Full-size photo)

What’s the healthiest city in America? It appears to be Burlington, Vt.

Vermont’s largest city is tops among U.S. metropolitan areas by having the largest proportion of people – 92 percent – who say they are in good or great health.

It’s also among the best in exercise and among the lowest in obesity, diabetes and other measures of ill health, according to a recent report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This New England city of 40,000 is in some ways similar to the unhealthiest city – Huntington, W.Va. Both are out-of-the-way college towns with populations that are overwhelmingly white people of English, German or Irish ancestry.

But there the similarities end:

•Burlington is younger, with an average age of 37, compared to 40 in Huntington, according to the Census Bureau.

•Burlington is better off financially, with 8 percent living at the federal poverty level, compared to 19 percent in Huntington.

•It’s much more educated, with nearly 40 percent of area residents having at least a college bachelor’s degree. Only 15 percent in the Huntington area do.

The cultures are significantly different, too. Bicycling, hiking, skiing and other exercises are common in Burlington. Neighborhood groups commonly focus on improving parks and working in community gardens.

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