Petersburg ranked unhealthiest locality in Va.

PETERSBURG, Va. (WRIC) — The City of Petersburg has been ranked dead last in the state for overall health factors.

That’s according to a study by the county health rankings and road maps.

8News reporter Parker Slaybaugh spoke with residents who say the city they love has some improving to do.

“We need to build Petersburg back up, because it’s a great city to live in,” said resident Dorothy Morris.

Morris believes several things are lacking.

“Farmers markets, more fresh produce, and fruits and vegetables versus candies and cookies.”

City health officials say while the city did rank last for overall health factors, they were encouraged by the Health Outcome portion, where the city improved by two spots from last year.

“Some of the things we are doing, we are working with the Petersburg Wellness consortium, and they have the million mile challenge, and the effort there is to get citizens of Petersburg moving along,” said Alton Hart, Petersburg’s District Health Director said.

Petersburg health officials acknowledged they have many food desserts in the city, but thanks to the new bus stops added in neighboring Colonial Heights, they say residents have easier and more affordable access to healthy produce.

The study took into account more than just obesity. It also studies smoking rates, teen pregnancy and Sexual Transmitted Disease. All things health officials say they are working to tackle.

“We are also working with the Petersburg school system to provide health education in the schools around reproductive health,” Hart added.

The health department also offers several clinics geared toward healthier living. Click here to view them.

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