The absence of fast food on the Island rankles some but it may also mean we are healthier. Vineyard residents rank as the healthiest in the state, according to a survey released Tuesday by the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Nantucket ranks second, the report found.
Researchers examined factors that influence health, such as smoking, drinking, education level, air pollution and access to fast-food restaurants. Dukes County, which encompasses the Vineyard and the Elizabeth Islands, was the healthiest county in the state, ranking first in overall health and physical environment and fourth in social and economic factors that included high school graduation rate and access to recreational facilities. The Island’s 93 per cent graduation rate well exceeded a statewide rate of 82 per cent.
The report analyzed data from a nationwide telephone survey, the census and Medicare claims. “The county health rankings show us that much of what influences our health happens outside of the doctor’s office,” said Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and chief executive officer of the Johnson foundation.
“In fact, where we live, learn, work and play has a big role in determining how healthy we are and how long we live.”