VT tops Maine in health ranking, despite brilliant new Ben and Jerry’s flavors


Mainers exercise and eat more vegetables than folks in most other states, but Vermonters still have us beat.

The people of the Green Mountain State scored the top spots for both frequent exercise and produce consumption in a new Gallup ranking. More than 65 percent of Vermont adults report exercising three or more days a week for at least 30 minutes. Nearly 68 percent eat at least five servings of vegetables four or more days per week, according to the survey conducted by Gallup and wellbeing company Healthways.

Yeah, well, we Mainers probably eat less maple syrup than they do … though Gov. Paul LePage would like to see Maine become Vermont’s Sugaring Daddy.

I’d also pose a couple of methodology questions: Does scarfing down one of Ben and Jerry’s tantalizing new core flavors — which feature decadent centers of fudge, caramel and raspberry jam — count as “working your core?” And did Gallup account for respondents’ proximity to the company’s Waterbury factory? Maybe Vermonters’ were exercising by running to the factory to stuff their faces with tubs of Hazed and Confused.

Back to the rankings. Maine came in eighth nationally for veggie consumption, with just shy of 60 percent of adults munching on produce regularly. We came in 13th nationally for frequent exercise.

Residents of Delaware, West Virginia, and Alabama were the least likely to report regular exercise. Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Missouri residents were the least keen to eat produce frequently.

The national average for regular exercise dipped to 51.6 percent in 2013 from 52.7 percent in 2012. Gallup and Healthways suspect the weather had something to do with it — 2013 ushered in the coldest and wettest weather since 2009, while 2012 was the warmest year on record and drier than 2013.

The nationwide average for regular veggie consumption was 57.7 percent in 2013. While Americans exercised less, we ate about the same amount of produce, the survey found.

The results, from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index from January through December 2013, are based on phone interviews with more than 178,000 U.S. adults.


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Jackie Farwell

About Jackie Farwell

I'm the health editor for the Bangor Daily News, a Bangor native, a UMaine grad, and a weekend crossword warrior. I never get sick of writing about Maine people, geeking out over health care data, and finding new ways to help you stay well. I live in Gorham with my husband Nick and our hound dog Riley.