Health Buzz: America’s Unhealthiest Cities and Other News

Why most fast food comes ultimately from corn, and value of the HPV vaccine for men.


The Nation's Healthiest and Unhealthiest Cities

Burlington, Vt., is the nation's healthiest city, the Associated Press reports. Ninety-two percent of Burlington's residents say they're in good or great health, and the city ranks among the lowest in diabetes, obesity, and other measures of poor health, according to an analysis of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. The unhealthiest city is Huntington, W.Va. Both Burlington and Huntington are isolated college towns whose populations are mostly whites of English, German, or Irish descent. Burlington's population has an average age of 37, compared with an average age of 40 in Huntington. And the population of Burlington is financially better off and more educated than the residents of Huntington. Also, physical activities like hiking, biking, and skiing are more common in Burlington.

In September, U.S. News provided a list of America's Best Healthiest Places to Retire. We also published your feedback on great retirement locations and provided a tool to search for the best place for your retirement.

Corn Is Basis of Most Fast-Food Items

New research reveals that menus at Burger King, McDonald's, and Wendy's depend on animals fed corn-only diets, HealthDay reports. "We found that corn is not just a grain used in the production of fast food, it is the basis of all fast food," study author A. Hope Jahren, a professor of geography and geophysics at the University of Hawaii, told HealthDay. "Of the hundreds of fast-food meals we purchased across the country, there were only about 12 servings of food that could potentially be traced back to something besides corn." The researchers purchased more than 480 hamburger, chicken sandwich, and French fry servings at fast-food outlets in Baltimore, Boston, Denver, Detroit, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Laboratory analysis of the items revealed that 100 percent of the cattle and 93 percent of the chicken used in hamburgers and sandwiches had been raised entirely on corn-based diets, according to HealthDay.

In October, U.S. News listed 10 things the food industry doesn't want you know. Last year, Adam Voiland explored the health reasons to cut back on corn.

What You Need to Know About HPV and Gardasil

As women—and soon men—gain access to the new Merck vaccine Gardasil, which targets the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus, the CDC has stepped up efforts to identify the 25,000 or more U.S. cases of cancer that are primarily associated with HPV. As reported in the November 15 supplement to the journal Cancer, the latest figures include 10,846 patients with invasive cancer of the cervix, followed by 7,360 with cancers of the mouth, particularly the tonsils and the back of the tongue. In addition, there are 3,018 cancers of the anus, 2,266 of the vulva, and 828 of the penis.

U.S. News's Bernadine Healy discusses the implications for men and lists seven facts you need to know about HPV and Gardasil. In July, Deborah Kotz explored whether the HPV vaccine is to blame for a teen's paralysis. Last year, she discussed whether to vaccinate children against HPV.

—January W. Payne

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