Which US State Has the Healthiest Habits?

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Healthy living appears to be common in Vermont: Residents of the state were the most likely in the nation to say they exercised frequently and ate their veggies, according to a new Gallup-Healthways poll.

In 2013, 65.3 percent of adults living in Vermont said they exercised for at least 30 minutes, three times a week — the most of any state, the poll found. Hawaii came in second, with 62.2 percent of residents saying they reached this level of exercise, followed by Montana and Alaska, both at 60.1 percent.

The states in which people were the least likely to report frequent exercise were Delaware, West Virginia, Alabama and New Jersey. In these states, just 46 to 47 percent of residents reported exercising at least three times a week for 30 minutes. [How Much Exercise Does Your State Get? (List)]

Vermont previously took the title for most frequent exercising in 2008 and 2009, but Alaska had the top spot in 2010 and 2012, Gallup said.

In the nation as a whole, 51.6 percent of adults reported https://www.livescience.com/43947-frequent-exercise-state.html in 2013, down from 52.7 percent in 2012. One of the reasons for the decline may have been the bad weather: 2013 had the coldest and wettest weather since 2009, according to Gallup.

Whether adults in any state exercise depends on other factors as well, including the availability of places to exercise, the average age of people in the state and whether residents are active as part of their jobs, Gallup noted.

Vermont also ranked No. 1 for eating vegetables: 67.8 percent of residents said they ate five or more servings of vegetables four days a week. This is the third year Vermont has claimed the top spot.

Other top states for eating vegetables were Montana, Washington and Oregon. In contrast, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Missouri ranked in the bottom for eating produce, with 52 to 53 percent of residents saying they ate their five servings of veggies four days a week.

Earlier this week, Gallup-Healthways released its rankings of the most and least obese states, with Montana and Colorado ranking as the least obese, and West Virginia and Mississippi as the most obese.

"There are tangible policies that cities and states can adopt to create an environment where the healthy choice is the easy choice — environments where fruits and vegetables are abundant and easy to access, and people can easily exercise and move naturally in their communities," Dan Buettner, founder of Blue Zones LLC, a project by Healthways that aims to make communities healthier, said in a statement.

The poll results are based on telephone interviews of more than 178,000 U.S. adults between January and December 2013.

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Rachael Rettner

Rachael is a Live Science contributor, and was a former channel editor and senior writer for Live Science between 2010 and 2022. She has a master's degree in journalism from New York University's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program. She also holds a B.S. in molecular biology and an M.S. in biology from the University of California, San Diego. Her work has appeared in Scienceline, The Washington Post and Scientific American.