Letter: Um, who’s healthier again?

Ya gotta love Ivory Tower social planners and government bureaucracies! In your story on Virginia health [March 4, Rapp ranks high in Va. health]: “Oddly enough, the county also ranked low — 97th — in the way the study measured the physical environment as a health factor, due apparently to the lack of supermarkets that carry health foods.” Oh, I get it, we’d be healthier if we lived in a place like Los Angeles County with supermarkets at every block and not a blade of grass between them. Who comes up with these inanities?

Although this wacky reasoning doesn’t even deserve a serious response, I’ll try anyway. 1) We don’t live in a vacuum. No one in Rappahannock County is farther than 30 minutes from the nearest supermarket. Every one of these supermarkets carries health food choices. 2) Ever heard of the Internet? The Fedex and UPS delivery trucks seem to be quite busy in our county. 3) In nearby Warrenton and Gainesville we have three or four state-of-the-art gourmet food stores for those who crave these gastronomic niceties as well as a range of health food alternatives. 4) We live in the middle of farmland in which our own neighbors produce the best-tasting, healthiest food products available to anyone in the country!

So, we get a low ranking for our “physical environment.” Guess we’ve got too many trees and too much open space. The same study ranked us near the bottom in clinical care. The same arguments apply. 1) We are surrounded by some of the finest hospitals in America. We don’t require passports to leave the county. 2) Our volunteer emergency services are without peer. 3) My go-to-GP, Dr. John McCue, is just about the best family physician I’ve known in my life — and I’ve lived in big cities, domestic and foreign. You think any of these Wisconsin gurus has even set foot in the good doctor’s office or interviewed any of his patients?

The probably well-intentioned folks at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation should get out from behind their statistical confetti and spend some time in the real world with the actual real people of Rappahannock County. Our family- owned, small-town grocery stores are responsive to our needs and serve us well. The last thing we need is a supermarket! If anything would give us fits, heartburn and a decline in our general good health, that would do it for sure.

Ron Maxwell
Flint Hill

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