The CDC recently ranked Huntington, West Virginia as America's unhealthiest city, leading the nation in rates of obesity, heart disease, diabetes—even the percentage of elderly people who have lost all their teeth.
On the other end of the scale was Burlington, Vermont, land of happy, healthy hikers and natural-food co-ops. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Burlington is a relatively wealthy area, where fewer than 10 percent of people live below the poverty line. In Huntington, the number rises to nearly 20 percent.
In interviews with the Associated Press, a number of Huntington residents said they didn't have the time, the resources, or the inclination to prioritize personal health. Looked at that way, the equation seems simple: people in Burlington have the luxury to shop at boutique health food stores; people in Huntington don't.
But Keri Kennedy, a state health officer, says the bigger problem is one of perception.