Once again Morgan County has been ranked the number one healthiest place in Utah to live. Carbon County is at the bottom, just above the three unranked counties in the state (Rich, Daggett and Piute). The study was done by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Heath Institute.
By the way, most of the counties at the bottom of the study are in eastern/southeastern Utah. We were 26th, Sevier was 25th. San Juan, Grand, Uintah and Duchesne were all well down the list.
The story was reported on Tuesday with relish by KSL. While the other stations mention it, it seems KSL gets quite a kick out of portraying Carbon as a den of inequity with raging diseases, bad air quality and people who are stupid.
I'm not going to comment on why that is, but you can guess as good as I can.
This year they did spend a lot of time in their newscast saying how great Morgan County was. They even had a health department official from there saying things like "we make the choice to be healthy."
Well we would make that choice too, wouldn't we. Putting the health factors in Carbon up against Morgan or Summit counties is an unequal comparison. Here are the things they evaluate each county on.
Alcohol use. So we like to have a good time; sue us.
Tobacco use. Chew or smokes, we do use more. We keep North Carolina in business.
Sex. They didn't say whether it was a lack of or too much of. I will go for the latter.
Diet and exercise. Morgan only has four fast food restaurants. We believe in American capitalism; our county is chock full of 'em.
Education. We have a school district and a college. What the hell does Morgan have? Oh yeah, they have a lot of rich people with a lot of degrees.
Income. See the above.
Community safety. We have crime, but largely not of the major type. I want to know how counties that have two or three murders a day can be ranked above us.
Employment. If the rest of the state wasn't such jerks, we might get some jobs here instead of major distribution warehouses locating in such places as the golden child of Utah, St. George. Meanwhile we make all the damn electricity they use to run their economy. Let's cut em off for awhile; maybe we can extort some jobs.
Family and social support. We have great families here and you don't see people panhandling on our streets.
Clinic care; Quality and access. Opinions around here may vary, but Castleview is a pretty damn good hospital in my book. Certainly better than what Morgan has (Oh I forgot; they are only 15 minutes from the Wasatch Front).
Physical environment. We seldom have pollution in the air unless it comes from a forest fire somewhere else in the state. Morgan gets socked in in the winter with a big cap on it. Water, ours come straight out of the mountains like theirs. I doubt these guys from Wisconsin have ever even been here, so what do they know other than what the state air control bureaucrats tell them.
Built environment. Lived in big cities and built environment is a detriment, not an attribute. We are more rural than Morgan. They just don't have any alkali in their fields like we do.
If you think this column is a joke and the reasoning is poor, you're right.
But no less a joke than the a study itself.