Who are we but lovers of lists? I remember buying the “book of lists” many years ago and being fascinated with the all the trivia knowledge of biggest grossing movies, breeds of dogs which bite people the most, people suspected of being the real Jack the Ripper and more lists I have long since forgetten.

And so, it is glee that I seen another list published today, and one that relates to fruits and vegetable consumption Today, I see the Gallup organization has released a ranking of the 50 states in healthy behavior. Check out the link here

From the summary:

The far-flung residents of snowy Vermont and the sun-soaked island of Hawaii in the first half of 2009 scored the highest in the nation for practicing healthful behaviors -- including eating healthily, exercising, and not smoking. Americans living in the Southern states of Kentucky and Arkansas are the least likely to report practicing these healthy habits.

The midyear results from the AHIP State and Congressional District Resource for Well-Being, a product of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, find the nation as a whole dropping substantively on the Healthy Behavior Sub-Index, from 63.7 in 2008 to 62.6 in the first half of 2009. The Healthy Behavior Sub-Index is one of six sub-indexes that make up the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, and asks Americans four questions: do you smoke; did you eat healthy all day yesterday; in the last seven days, on how many days did you exercise for 30 minutes or more; and in the last seven days, on how many days did you have five or more servings of fruits and vegetables. The Healthy Behavior Sub-Index scores for the nation and for each state are calculated based on a scale from 0 to 100, where 100 would be a perfect score.

Healthy Behavior scores in most states are trending down in the first half of 2009 compared with 2008, though many have not decreased by a statistically significant degree. Mississippi, whose score ranks among the bottom 10, is the only state to record a statistically significant increase in its healthy behavior score thus far in 2009. (See page 2 for a complete list of state Healthy-Behavior Sub- Index scores.)

Clear patterns emerge when the results are mapped, with Western, Mountain, and Northeastern states -- as well as Florida -- performing the best, and states in the South and Midwest performing the worst.

TK: Based on similar studies released in recent years, we have certain expectations when it comes to these “healthy: measures of the states. We know the South is going to bring up the rear and states like Colorado, Vermont and Oregon will rank near the top. So these results don’t shock us. One sub-index of interest is a score regarding fruit and vegetable consumption. From the study:

Residents of Vermont, in addition to obtaining the highest score on the overall sub-index, are also the most likely to report frequent exercise and consumption of fruits and vegetables. Ohio residents are the least likely to report frequent exercise. Arkansas does the worst on the healthful diet dimension and North Dakota ranks last for weekly consumption of fruits and vegetables, specifically.