Vermont Research Newsletter: Lakes, Weight, Taxes and More..

Vermont has the highest rates of obesity in New England
At 15.1%, Vermont has the highest obesity rate for youth ages 10 to 17 in New England, according to a new report issued by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This number is increasing, up from 11.8% in 2016. Similarly, Vermont’s adult obesity rate is currently 27.5%, an increase from 17% in 2000 and 10.7% in 1990, according to the study. Still, Vermont has the eighth-lowest adult obesity rate in the nation and the 13th lowest obesity rate for youth ages 10 to 17.

Gun purchase patterns in Vermont
Vermont ranks No. 19 for gun sales per person, according to a recent study based on the most recent background check data released by the FBI through 2018, with 79.4 sales per 100,000 people last year, a 59.2 percent increase since 2009. Vermont also ranked within the top states 10 with the lowest percentage of gun-related crimes in murder, robbery and aggravated assault. The study does not include data from used stolen guns or guns purchased illegally.

Another recent gun-related study looks at the relationship between the per capita number of places that guns can be purchased and the 2016 presidential vote share. While the study finds states that voted Republican have more places to purchase guns, Vermont is an outlier that counters that finding. The case study goes on to examine some of the reasons why this is true for Vermont, but not elsewhere.

Plant native plants!
Non-native invasive species are a major cause of ecosystem degradation, with riparian areas at particularly high risk for invasion. A recent study assessing the effects of restoring native trees to disturbed riparian sites and their ability to resist invasive plants in central Vermont finds that when comparing planted vs. non-planted riparian sites in Vermont, the non-planted sites had three times the number of invasive plants and 43% greater stem density. Habitat restoration through planting native plants in these ecosystems is a quantifiable effective method for restoring the health of these systems, the study finds.

Reductions in smoking lead to fewer car crashes among young drivers
Distracted driving-related to cigarette use is the focus of a recent study. The researcher found an association between higher prices for cigarettes and a reduction in non-alcohol and alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities among 16-20 years olds. Higher prices have led to reductions in tobacco use among this age group, which is then associated with fewer car crashes, the researcher suggests.
Jersey cows produce more milk fat than Holsteins
Vermont Jersey cows produce more milk fat than Vermont Holsteins, a study finds. Additionally, both breeds produce milk that decreases in fat and protein concentration in milk with increasing mean unsaturation. Concentrations of milk components vary by season in Vermont with seasonal variation in de novo fatty acid concentration and production causing seasonal variation of fat and protein concentration. However, Jersey cows seem to have a larger increase in milk true protein concentration than Holstein cows as milk de novo fatty concentration increases.
Vermont and renewable energy
Vermont ranks 14th in a renewable energy report by SmartAsset. The study compared states across seven metrics related to renewable energy that include both policies and results. These include carbon emissions, USDA funding and investments, renewable energy output, and policies and incentives encouraging renewable energy development. Vermont is one of only five states with 100% renewable energy output.
Vermont one of the last few cold states as the climate changes
Vermont is one of only six states that will experience sub-freezing average winter weather conditions by the end of the century, out of the current 25, as predicted by the Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) 8.5 unabated high emissions framework. A recent study urges policymakers to consider both the short-term and long-term effects of climate change with regard to housing and building construction. 
Kidney transplant candidates travel abroad
Kidney transplant candidates residing in Western Vermont and New York were the most likely to travel abroad for a kidney transplant, a study finds. The deceased kidney transplant donor rate in this region is lower than the national average, which may account for this data.
Tax policy and border employment
There is a relationship between state tax policy, firm employment, and firm location and the states that border Vermont, a new study reports. The study looks at the economic impacts of tax policy between state borders, finding that New York, which has relatively high marginal tax rates, does not experience these effects due to its adjacency to Vermont and New Jersey, which have higher marginal tax rates.
Doctors support Act 39 but want more resources
In 2013, Vermont established the Patient Choice and Control at End of Life Act (Act 39). A recent survey of doctors finds that while a majority of the surveyed physicians are in support of the legislation, many are in favor of additional resources. According to the survey, 71% of the participants supported Act 39, but many felt they could use more information and resources to counsel a patient (51.4%) and more information regarding how to complete the paperwork and prescription for life-ending medication (37.4%).
Jewel Beetle spottings grow
New state records indicate that many other varieties of invasive Jewel Beetles (Buprestidae Coleoptera) other than the Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis) are in Vermont. From 2008 to 2016, thirty species of Jewel Beetle that were not Emerald Ash Borer were identified in Emerald Ash Borer traps set around Vermont. While not all of these varieties are invasive, a total of 28 new state records of Buprestidae have been detected while surveying for emerald ash borer in Vermont.
Eurasian Watermilfoil increases in Vermont lake
The invasive aquatic Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) is the most common species of aquatic plants in Lake Iroquois, found in 43% of survey points in a recent study. This is a 24% increase from a 2017 survey. However, species richness in Lake Iroquois remains high, indicating good water quality and a variety of habitat types.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Vermont is one of only 14 states that require carbon monoxide detectors in hotels or motels under statutes. Because CO poisoning is not a reportable condition, tracking poisonings is quite difficult. A recent article urges other states to mandate the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in all lodgings.
Vegan ice cream consumption
Burlington residents prefer vegan and super-premium ice creams to low-calorie choices, a new study finds. Participants also assumed that the vegan ice cream option was the healthiest option, despite having similar nutrition content to the super-premium option. This is evidence of a “health halo effect” surrounding vegan ice cream, according to the study.
As you watch the debates… 
Take note of whether candidates use proverbs or proverbial language. Listen to our podcast episode with paremiologist (one who studies proverbs) Wolfgang Mieder. In this episode, we break down political speeches and debates of the past and present. How are proverbs used to make us listen? How proverbial is President Trump? Bernie Sanders? Elizabeth Warren? We talk about the history of proverbs and why we use them, and most importantly, why they matter!. Click here to listen to the episode.
Vermont Refugees Tell Their Stories
Suddenly You Are Nobody: Vermont Refugees Tell Their Stories is a collection of life stories from 30 refugees and immigrants from 17 countries now living in Vermont, compiled Jared Gange. The title is based on a quote from a refugee from Bosnia, “You live normal life/Suddenly you are nobody/Yesterday everybody knows you/Next day you are no one/You are low, below low.”
Learn more.
Upcoming October Historical Talks