10 best towns for raising a family

10 best towns for raising a family

Family Circle magazine identifies 10 family-friendly towns and suburbs nationwide that make the grade in housing costs, school quality, green space and ‘giving spirits.’

When you’re looking for the right place to live, your judgment is based upon a variety of factors, including where you are in your life. That hip downtown loft, which you find delightful as a young single, probably won’t work for a family of four.

These days, we’re reading a lot about how young people and empty-nesters are flocking to urban cores, choosing city life over suburbs. But what if you’re looking for a nice place to raise a family? Not only is a high-rise condo not necessarily an ideal environment, but the neighborhood schools also often are not places you’d want to send your children for a good education.

Family Circle has compiled a list of the 10 best towns for families, based on affordable housing, good neighbors, green spaces, strong public-school systems and “giving spirits.” The towns are showcased in the August 2012 issue of the magazine.

To create the list, the magazine and a research firm compiled a list of 3,335 towns with populations between 11,000 and 150,000. From those, they pulled areas with a strong concentration of family incomes between $55,000 and $96,000. They then looked at housing affordability, school quality, health care, green space, crime rates and financial stability.

Here is Family Circle’s List of the 10 Best Towns for Families:

  • Bay Village, Ohio, a suburb of Cleveland.
  • Lake Oswego, Ore., a suburb of Portland.
  • Vail, Ariz., a suburb of Tucson.
  • Fishers, Ind., a suburb of Indianapolis.
  • Ballwin, Mo., a suburb of St. Louis.
  • Louisville, Colo., 20 miles from Denver.
  • Longmeadow, Mass., in western Massachusetts near Springfield.
  • Fort Mill, S.C., 20 miles from Charlotte, N.C.
  • Zachary, La., a suburb of Baton Rouge.
  • Oak Park, Ill., a suburb of Chicago.

What do you think about these choices? Are those the criteria you would apply in seeking a family-friendly community?

E. Coli O145 Ban Opposed by Meat Industry

by Dr. Michael Greger

 

One child is dead and 13 others sickened across six states in an ongoing  outbreak of E. coli O145. Another child—a first-grader in  Massachusetts—also died recently, but that was due to a different strain of  E. coli, O157. After the Jack-in-the-Box outbreak in 1993, E.  coli O157 was declared an adulterant, meaning it became illegal to sell  meat testing positive for the deadly pathogen. It still, however, remained  perfectly legal to sell meat contaminated with the other “Big Six”  toxin-producing E. coli strains: O26, O111, O103, O121, O45 and O145.  These strains are collectively sickening twice as many Americans as O157. For years, food safety and  consumer organizations have fought to ban the sale of meat soiled with these  other deadly strains against meat industry objections.

In the 1990s, the American Meat Institute opposed the original ban on the  sale of raw meat contaminated with E. coli O157 despite the devastating  effect this pathogen could have on vulnerable populations, especially children.  Here’s how one mother described what E. coli O157:H7 did to her  three-year-old daughter Brianna:

“The pain during the first 80 hours was horrific,  with intense abdominal cramping every 10 to 12 minutes. Her intestines swelled  to three times their normal size and she was placed on a ventilator. Emergency  surgery became essential and her colon was removed. After further surgery,  doctors decided to leave the incision open, from sternum to pubis, to allow  Brianna’s swollen organs room to expand and prevent them from ripping her skin.  Her heart was so swollen it was like a sponge and bled from every pore. Her  liver and pancreas shut down and she was gripped by thousands of convulsions,  which caused blood clots in her eyes. We were told she was brain dead.”

The ban passed in 1994 despite meat industry opposition, and now the number  of Americans dying from E. coli O157 is half of what it used to be.  Unfortunately this lesson was lost on the American Meat Institute, which  continued to fight tooth and nail against similar regulations targeting the  other Big Six strains. This week they lost. Meat known to test positive for any of these  potentially deadly fecal pathogens can no longer be legally sold as of June 4,  2012. Too late for Maelan Elizabeth Graffagnini, though—the 21-month old victim  of E. coli O145 whose funeral was held the same day.

The immediate source of the current outbreak has yet to be identified, but  the original source is always the same: feces. How contaminated is the American  meat supply with fecal matter?

What about the hundreds of thousands of Americans that die from  non-intestinal E. coli infections? Please feel free to check  out my 3-min. video Chicken Out of UTIs.

The meat industry argues that they should be allowed to sell unsafe meat  because it only poses a risk if it’s not properly cooked or handled. Ironically,  they’re also opposed to safe handling labeling. See my 3-min. video Food  Poisoning Bacteria Cross-Contamination.

In health, Michael Greger, M.D.