From Yahoo Health 1/27/16
Is your state on the top 10 list? (Photo: Corbis)
If you’re looking for health and happiness, head west! At least, that’s the implication of a new ranking of the states with the highest well-being.
How do you score well-being? Gallup and Healthways examined more than 2.3 million survey results to determine which states are doing the best across five key areas of well-being: purpose, social, financial, community, and physical.
For 2015, the non-contiguous U.S. states notched top marks in well-being, with Hawaii and Alaska coming in first and second place respectively. The Midwest and Mountain states are also home to some of the healthiest Americans, followed by the Western sunshine states of California and Arizona.
Check out the top 10:
- South Dakota
Although Hawaii did not finish first in the 2014 rankings (Alaska held that honor), the state has sat atop the U.S. ranking five times since the poll’s inception in 2008. But while Alaska and Hawaii are perennial health champs, other states have not fared as well.
Some Midwestern and Southern states did not score strong wellness numbers this year. West Virginia finished last in the index overall, also scoring the lowest marks nationwide in four of the five well-being elements: purpose, social, community, and physical. Kentucky, Oklahoma, Ohio, and Indiana round out the bottom five.
The goal of the annual Gallup-Healthways poll is to see what regions could use a better focus on enterprises that support health and happiness. High well-being scores are linked to better utilization of health care and lower costs, in addition to better job attendance and performance.
According to Healthways, business and government leaders can use these numbers as a sort of health benchmark on a local level. This can allow companies to work on interventions and initiatives to patch population gaps across any of the five wellness pillars (from physical to financial), and eventually help to improve the health and happiness of the workforce and American people as a whole. A happy, well population sparks job productivity, lowers health care costs — and ultimately makes the world go ‘round.
Curious where your state ranks? You can check out the entire 2015 Well-Being Index here.