Columbia among top 10 healthy cities

Wednesday, September 17, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CDT; updated 7:49 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 11, 2008

After debuting at No. 2 on Money magazine’s “best places to live” list in 1992, Columbia has reappeared on a top 10 list, this time for healthy living.

The current issue of Organic Style magazine ranks Columbia ninth in the nation as one of the most environmentally healthy cities.

“A range of estimates suggest that the environment plays about a 10 to 20 percent role in determining your health,” wrote Robert Weinhold, author of the Rating Guide to Environmentally Healthy Metro Areas. He conducted the survey for Organic Style.

The 500,000-circulation magazine said its “Healthy Cities” report ranked 125 cities based on their levels of “environmental toxicity,” as measured by the quality of air, soil and water. The magazine said that Weinhold “crunched 5,500 pieces of data for his analysis.”

Columbia farmer Ron Anderson, owner of Ron’s Fresh Vegetables, was not surprised by Columbia’s ranking.

“We don’t have that many industrial chemicals polluting our water and soil,” Anderson said. “Farmers do a good job in the county. They are pretty good stewards of the land.”

Cyclist Matt Colgin also noticed Columbia’s air quality while riding Monday on the MKT Trail.

“The air is much less polluted here than in larger cities,” said Colgin, who moved to Columbia from Dallas, which ranked 114th on the list.

Despite Columbia’s ranking, it did not make the cut for what Organic Style called its “highly subjective culture-and-style test.”

Iowa City, Iowa, scored high for culture and style and was profiled by the magazine as “Best in the Midwest,” although it was ranked 25th on the list of healthy cities.

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