Health Care

Covid aside, how healthy is Vermont?

Vermont scores healthy in heart disease, obesity, STD, infant mortality, health insurance coverage, and violent crime; unhealthy in drug and alcohol use, suicide

By Guy Page

Since March 2020 our attention has been glued on Vermont’s Covid-19 case, hospitalization, death and vaccination statistics. But plenty of other markers show whether Vermonters are healthy – or not.

Vermont by some indicators seems to deserve its reputation as “the healthiest state in the nation,” a title bestowed by a 2019 United Health Foundation study. But in many key indicators, Vermont is far from healthy, a more recent study shows. 

The glass-half-full UHF study shows that Vermont ranks as very healthy, in categories of cardiovascular disease, obesity, smoking, STDs, infant mortality, health insurance coverage, and violent crime. However, a separate, glass-half-empty study shows Vermonters fared lower than the national average in marijuana and alcohol consumption, suicide, and cocaine use between 2003 – 2018. Also, Vermonters are drinking more liquor.

Vermont’s ‘sobering’ drug and alcohol stats appear in the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), conducted by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The data are also cited in a recent Cato Institute report on the impact of marijuana legalization. 

First the good news.

Thirty-five measures contribute to the ranking of the healthiest states, the UHF study said. Vermont was the healthiest state in 2019, followed by Massachusetts (No. 2), Hawaii (No. 3), Connecticut (No. 4) and Utah (No. 5). Vermont improved three ranks in 2019 to take the top spot. The #1 ranking is attributed partly to a low incidence of chlamydia, a sexually-transmitted disease that can cause permanent damage to a woman’s reproductive system and failed pregnancies. The study also recognizes Vermont’s low violent crime rate and a low percentage of uninsured individuals. 

2019 was the fifth time Vermont has ranked No. 1 in the past 30 years. Mississippi ranks No. 50, while Louisiana (No. 49), Arkansas (No. 48), Alabama (No. 47) and Oklahoma (No. 46) round out the states with the greatest opportunities for improvement. Mississippi struggles with high infant mortality and cardiovascular death rates. 

Now, the bad news. According to “most recent available year” statistics, Vermont is unhealthier than the U.S. average in:

Liquor Sales (consumption presumed):

(Vermont Dept. of Liquor & Lottery, Dep. Commissioner Wendy Knight)

Youth marijuana use in previous 30 days:

U.S. Government National Survey on Drug Use & Health

Alcohol use in the past month:

U.S. Government National Survey on Drug Use & Health

Cocaine use in the past year:

U.S. Government National Survey on Drug Use & Health

Suicide death rate for Vermonters 15 and older:

U.S. Government National Survey on Drug Use & Health

Categories: Health Care

5 replies »

  1. The article left out the most critical component for Vermonter’s health, their weight. I look around I see a huge amount of fat everywhere. Overweight people are running cycling in an effort to get healthy, but they don’t understand the answer is their diet .Stay away from sugar. Consume nutrition that promotes fat burning, fish, cannabinoids, grass fed dairy, vitamin D. stay away from carbohydrates. drbob

  2. If phony phil thinks Vermonters are going to put up with another mask mandate he better think again. NO MASKS!!

  3. Well, MENTAL health is just as important as physical health, and in fact, the two are quite intertwined. Therefore, VT ought to be ranked much lower as people with penises prancing around in bras and wearing lipstick whilst proclaiming to be women, while other Vermonters applaud them is certainly not a sign of a healthy society. It is conversely the sign of a very unhealthy & dysfunctional one.

    FOLLOW THE SCIENCE! Remember that one, democrats? Of course you do, as I believe you coined the now pop-culture adage…. repeat after me: Males have penises and can impregnate; Females have vaginas and can come become pregnant and birth a baby.

    I realize this is VERY complex from a scientific standpoint, but one day you might be able to grasp the concept if you try.

  4. Oh Kathy – I’m right there with you lol.

    It’s so darn simple, but when the world finds out the inversions that have taken place right under their noses (among other things) the new stats on VT health is going to possibly be catastrophic!

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