Is Your State a Healthy Place to Live?

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 6.09.54 PMThe Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index report for 2014 came out, and if you want to live in the healthiest state, you very well may have to travel a great distance.

Alaska was ranked No. 1 in the country for highest overall well-being, according to Gallup. The report states that “these state-level data are based on more than 176,000 interviews with U.S. adults across all 50 states, conducted from January to December 2014…

The index “consists of metrics affecting overall well-being and each of the five essential elements of well-being:

  • “Purpose: liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals”
  • “Social: having supportive relationships and love in your life”
  • “Financial: managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security”
  • “Community: liking where you live, feeling safe, and having pride in your community”
  • “Physical: having good health and enough energy to get things done daily”

The Huffington Post reports that “the report is a clear indicator that well-being is not just an abstract, new-age concept when it comes to an optimal life. While maintaining our physical health is imperative, research overwhelmingly shows our emotional health is equally important. All the factors that comprise well-being — not just our physical fitness — concretely influence our communities, our workplace productivity and our health.”

The top 10 states with the highest overall well-being are:

  1. Alaska
  2. Hawaii
  3. South Dakota
  4. Wyoming
  5. Montana
  6. Colorado
  7. Nebraska
  8. Utah
  9. New Mexico
  10. Texas

Screen Shot 2015-03-10 at 6.00.26 PMThe HuffPo spoke with Dan Witters, research director for the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, who said, “The importance of holistic well-being is not just a theory. People are leaving a lot of untapped potential sitting out there if all they do is focus on the physical part. Focusing on all aspects [of well-being] makes a big difference.”

Or, as Gallup reports: “Improving and sustaining high well-being is vital to any population’s overall health and economy. Previous Gallup and Healthways research shows that high well-being closely relates to key health outcomes such as lower rates of healthcare utilization, workplace absenteeism and workplace performance, change in obesity status and new onset disease burden. Well-being is also a predictor of business outcomes such as employee engagement, customer engagement, turnover and workplace safety, which can affect a population’s ability to reach its economic potential.”

The full report can be downloaded here.