Clash of the Health Polls

Central Valley mapThe Central Valley isn’t known for being all that healthy of a place. According to the latest rankings, most Valley communities rank in the bottom half of the list of 150 US cities – and most of those toward the bottom of that. (The one exception? Sacramento, which came in at a respectable 28th, just ahead of San Diego and Oakland.)

So we were a little surprised by a new “healthy eating” poll from the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index. Of the 189 US communities included, here’s how the Valley towns fared:

  • #27 Visalia
  • #29 Fresno
  • #39 Modesto
  • #40 Stockton
  • #58 Bakersfield
  • #76 Sacramento

This is a region where nearly half of all adults are prediabetic, including more than 30% of young adults. This is a region with a food landscape that has been described as “designed for disease.”

This is a region of healthy eaters?!

It is if your poll consists of a single question: “Did you eat healthy all day yesterday?”

Self-reported data can be problematic. People lie to preserve their self-image. Or they forget. Or they give the answers they think their interviewer wants to hear. Or they don’t fully understand the question.

As we’ve noted before, “healthy” can be a tricky term sometimes. There’s plenty of rivaling opinion on just what that means. Without having some shared standard of what “healthy eating” entails, how can you make an accurate assessment?

A person who eats three homemade meals made with lots of fresh organic produce, sustainably raised meats and dairy as they choose, healthy fats, and no added sugars would probably say, “Yes, I ate healthy all day today.

But so might the person who ate mainly hyper-processed products, whether at home or on the go, that are marketed as “healthy” and “natural” but are anything but.

With this poll, there’s really no there there.

Image by Shannon1, via Wikimedia Commons

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A humanistic, holistic dental practice in Northern California, providing integrative, biological, mercury-free dentistry
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