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Maple Syrup Beats Cheese Grits

Maple Syrup Beats Cheese Grits

For those on the outside looking in, it's not tough to see why Louisiana has been ranked as the unhealthiest state in the nation, according to this MSNBC article. After all, the fried chicken, butter biscuits and grits could be contributing to the state's 31% obesity rate. But that's a bit of a stereotype, considering that each area brings with it a wealth of unhealthy food options that are famous to the region.

Consider Vermont, which was ranked as the nation's healthiest state for the second year in a row. The Green Mountain State loves its sugar maple tree and is famous for its apple pie. Vermont is also fond of cheesy goodness from the Vermont Butter and Cheese Company, and is home to Ben and Jerry's ice cream. But Vermonters only have a 22% obesity rate, making them four points below the national average.

Keep in mind: The study also took other factors into consideration, including binge drinking, smoking rates, health insurance coverage, air pollution and infectious disease.

Louisiana replaced Mississippi as the unhealthiest state, but the Magnolia State was not far behind due to high obesity and smoking rates similar to those of this year's "winner".

This study makes me wonder about the way we choose to make health decisions. It's tough to be surrounded by oh-la-la-luscious food, but this is where we need to implement portion control. Next time you are faced with the yummy foods of your state, take just a little bit of everything—you might be surprised by how satisfied you will feel.

And on another note: How do you feel about your state's health care? I have never thought about this more than now, given my recent move to Ohio. I was spoiled when I lived in Pittsburgh because I lived amongst some of the best medical professionals (UPMC) in the world. That is not to say that Ohio healthcare is poor—I have not tested it yet—but Pittsburgh sure was fabulous.

I am curious: Do you think your state contributes to how healthy you are? Can you beat the odds?

—Caroline Shannon

Posted: 12/5/08

I think it can. When I moved from Ohio to the OC (yes, Orange County, Calif.,) I definitely felt the pressure to get in shape! All the nice weather certainly does help inspire me to go for more runs. Sadly, I can't really during the week in winter because it's dark by 5 p.m.!

But speaking of health care in Ohio, Cleveland Clinic is the nation's leading hospital in heart care, and one of the top overall hospitals in the United States.


I lived in Vermont for a couple of years and come to think of it, I don't recall seeing anyone who would be called obese. I think it has much to do with all the outdoor activity. Like Colorado, Vermont promotes being in the great outdoors. The air is crisp and clean and children take ski lessons as their gym classes, so just about everyone is out skiing, boarding, hiking or snow shoeing.

New York is trying to make an effort with the city trying to make more people aware of what they're eating by putting the calories on some menus (and in fast food eateries).

I'm afraid from what I've read, Americans are going to get less healthy, not more as they opt for cheaper things to eat, which generally equates to more processed and more packing on of the pounds.