In all the stories I have read so far about our healthiest (Burlington, Vermont) and unhealthiest (Huntington, West Virginia) cities one key point has gone unspoken.
The role of higher education.
If you not only have an advanced degree, but use it in your daily life, chances are you are watching your weight, kicking the cigarette habit, and doing most of the other things needed to stay alive into the middle of this century and beyond.
It's possible the connection is not made because Huntington is home to Marshall University (my Rice Owls play the Thundering Herd this Saturday) but Marshall has just 14,000 students.
Huntington is basically a blue collar town, with high unemployment, and many of its jobs are low wage hospital positions.
Burlington, home of the University of Vermont (slightly smaller than Marshall) sports IBM as its largest employer. If you want to make a good living in Burlington, bring an advanced degree.
The point is that there is a correlation between an advanced degree and your willingness to respond to health information. This is a link that needs to be broken if America is to become healthier.
And not by plying Ph.Ds with donuts, either.