Gallup Names Mass. #10 for Wellbeing
Thursday, March 07, 2013
The ranking comes as part of Gallup’s State of the State report and used metrics to show how well residents are living in each state.
Gallup’s data is based on daily surveys conducted from January through December 2012, including interviews with more than 350,000 Americans nationwide and at least 1,000 residents in each state except Alaska and Hawaii.
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index summarizes more than 50 different wellbeing items and is calculated on a scale of 0 to 100, where a score of 100 represents ideal wellbeing.
Metrics included Life Evaluation, Emotional Health, and Work Environment Indexes as well as access to basic necessities. Stress levels and self-reported “daily enjoyment” were also used.
The Work Environment Index measures workplace issues such as whether a worker has a trusting and open work environment and whether an employee is able to use his or her strengths to do what he or she does best every day.
What earned Massachusetts a top spot? Residents of the Commonwealth were most likely to report having access to basic necessities, as they were in 2010 and 2011.
Gallup said that this top score is partly a result of having the highest percentage of residents with health insurance in the nation.
The Basic Access Index also measures residents' access to other health essentials, including enough money for food, shelter, and medicine; a safe place to exercise; and clean water.
According to Gallup, certain provisions of the Affordable Care Act -- requiring all individuals to have health insurance or to risk paying a penalty -- may help low-income individuals improve their wellbeing, if they aware of and take advantage of them.
Hawaii maintained its number one spot for the fourth consecutive year, with a Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index score of 71.1 in 2012 -- up from 70.2 in 2011. Colorado, Minnesota, Utah, and Vermont rounded out the top five states with the highest wellbeing scores last year.
Vermont residents had the healthiest behaviors in the nation, including the highest percentage of residents who ate five or more servings of fruits and vegetables at least four days per week. The Healthy Behaviors Index also measures the percentage of residents who smoke, exercise frequently, and eat healthy daily. Kentucky ranked last on this index, with the lowest percentage of residents in the nation saying they ate healthy all day "yesterday."
West Virginia residents have the lowest overall wellbeing for the fourth year in a row, with a Well-Being Index score of 61.3 in 2012 -- slightly lower than the 62.3 in 2011. Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, and Arkansas also had among the five lowest wellbeing scores in the country.
At the other end of the spectrum, Rhode Island employees reported having the most negative work environments. West Virginians were the least likely to be thriving, as was the case in 2011. Also, West Virginians had the worst emotional health in the nation and were more likely to report being diagnosed with depression than residents of any other state.
Residents in West Virginia also had the lowest score on the Physical Health Index, which includes having the highest percentage of obese residents in the nation. Colorado residents scored the highest on the Physical Health Index, partially a result of having the lowest percentage of obese residents in the U.S.
Western and Midwestern states earned seven of the 10 highest overall wellbeing scores, while New England states held the other three spots. Southern states had the six lowest wellbeing scores, and eight southern states were within the 10 lowest wellbeing scores. This regional pattern in wellbeing has remained consistent over the past five years.
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