Everyone has a different definition of what their own well-being means to them. Whether measured by financial or physical health, social and community engagement, or simply finding purpose in life, the potential for well-being differs from state to state, with some places ranking higher than others, new findings suggest.
Well-being in the U.S. has been strengthened by several positive trends in the past year, including a decline in the national uninsured rate, a decline in the overall smoking rate and an increase in reported exercise, according to the latest Gallup-Healthways “State of American Well-Being: 2015 State Rankings” report released last week.
Among all states, Hawaii reclaimed the top spot for well-being, usurping 2014’s top state, Alaska, which ranked second overall. Others such as Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Utah, Arizona and California rounded out the rest of the top-10 states.
Index data provide a comprehensive view of well-being across five key elements: purpose, social, financial, community and physical. Separated by category, in 2015 Delaware led the way in purpose; South Carolina in social; Alaska in financial; Montana in community; and Hawaii in physical health.
By analyzing this data and using it to benchmark populations, Gallup-Healthways aims to assist policy, community and business leaders in understanding potential gaps and opportunities so they can develop interventions to measurably improve well-being at both the state level and nationwide.
Not only does well-being mean living a healthy lifestyle—one that is purposeful and engaged in the community—but well-being also correlates with health care utilization and cost, as well as job performance and productivity measures, according to Gallup-Healthways.
“Leading employers are beginning to step up as champions, investing to help their employees live and work better, and cultivate the behaviors that keep us well and better manage illness,” said Donato J. Tramuto, CEO of Healthways. “These leaders know that investments in employee well-being have a measurable and sustainable impact on business performance, as well as far-reaching benefits that impact the health of our nation.”
Results from the 2015 Gallup-Healthways index are consistent with past surveys from the organizations, which also ranked Hawaii as the top state for the well-being of seniors, in particular, with Alaska, Montana, South Dakota, among others joining the ranks among the best states for well-being.
View the 2015 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.
Written by Jason Oliva