Hawaii Tops Well-Being List Third Year in a Row
by Dave Smith
Hawaii is the land of sunshine, sand and surf, so perhaps it’s not surprising that its residents rank first in the nation in well-being.
The Aloha State’s No. 1 ranking in the 2011 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index score was its third in a row. Hawaii scored 70.2 in the index, where 100 represents “ideal well-being,” with North Dakota slightly behind at 70.0 and Minnesota at 69.2. Utah and Alaska rounded out the top five.
According to the poll, West Virginia had the lowest well-being with an index of 62.3. The next lowest was Kentucky, followed by Mississippi, Delaware and Ohio.
The nation as a whole scored 66.2 last year, down slightly from 66.8 in 2010, reflecting small declines in all six of the sub-indexes which include such subjects as emotional health, work environment, physical health and healthy behaviors. The 2011 score was the lowest since Gallup and Healthways began tracking the information in 2008, when the average was 66.5.
Hawaii residents had high scores on the Emotional Health and Healthy Behaviors indexes, which helped them retain the top spot overall. In the Emotional Health category, Hawaii residents were the most likely to say they smiled or laughed a lot “yesterday,” and the least likely to report worry or stress on a daily basis and to have ever been diagnosed with depression. Good eating and exercise habits and lower smoking rates earned them the distinction of having the best healthy behaviors in the nation.
Alaska residents came in first when it came to those most likely to rate their lives highly enough to be “thriving” which constituted the Life Evaluation score. West Virginia residents remained the state with the highest percentage of obese residents which placed them last in the Physical Health index.