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Monday, February 27, 2012
Gallup: Hawaii #1 in Health, Wellbeing
By Selected News Articles @ 4:39 PM :: 7581 Views :: Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics

Gallup-Healthways 2011 U.S. Well-Being Index Results Reveal Obesity, High Blood Pressure and Diabetes Leveling off across States

National Adult Obesity Rate Declines Slightly to 26.1 Percent in 2011, from 26.6 Percent in 2010

From Gallup Healthways

Adult obesity in America has plateaued and may be slowly declining, according to data from The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index™ (WBI) presented today at the Population Health and Care Coordination Colloquium in Philadelphia. The obesity rate in America fell in 2011 to 26.1 percent, from 26.6 percent in 2010 and 26.5 percent in 2009.

“It is an effective predictor of healthcare costs, job performance and productivity. These data can help identify needs and guide interventions to improve the well-being of the nation.”

Americans aged 45-64 have one of the highest obesity rates in the nation, at 30.8 percent. Obesity is even higher among middle-aged African-Americans (41.0%) and Hispanics (34.5%). Asians boast one of the lowest obesity rates in the nation, at 8.9 percent.

“The obesity epidemic isn’t just a public health issue; it’s also a financial burden on individuals, companies and governments,” said Ben Leedle, Jr., Healthways president and CEO. “According to the National Institutes of Health, the annual incremental cost of healthcare per person due to obesity is $1,429. While these numbers are encouraging, the rate of obesity remains troublesome, and we believe it’s necessary to remain vigilant to reduce obesity rates and increase healthy behaviors to lessen the rate of chronic illnesses and future healthcare costs.”

State and Metropolitan Area Obesity

Obesity rates did not increase in any state in 2011. Obesity remains lowest in Colorado (18.5%). Other well-performing states were Utah (21.6%), Rhode Island (21.6%), Massachusetts (22.2%) and Connecticut (22.3%). Obesity was highest in West Virginia (35.3%). Five other states had obesity rates near to or greater than 30 percent, including Delaware (32.7%), Mississippi (32.2%), Louisiana (30.3%), Arkansas (29.7%) and Kentucky (29.5%).

The ten metropolitan areas with the highest obesity rates in 2011 were McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX (38.8%), Binghamton, NY (37.6%), Huntington-Ashland, WV-KY-OH (36.0%), Rockford, IL (35.5%), Beaumont-Port Arthur, TX (33.8%), Charleston, WV (33.8%), Lakeland-Winter Haven, FL (33.5%), Topeka, KS (33.3%), Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, WA (33.2%) and Reading, PA (32.7%).

The Overall Well-Being of States

Hawaii again led the nation in overall well-being in 2011 with a Well-Being Index score of 70.2, scoring highest on emotional health (84.1) and healthy behaviors (68.9). Rounding out the list of the top ten states in well-being are North Dakota (70.0), Minnesota (69.2), Alaska (69.0), Utah (69.0), Colorado (68.4), Kansas (68.4), Nebraska (68.3), New Hampshire (68.2) and Montana (68.0).

Specifically, Alaska garnered the highest score for life evaluation (60.2), North Dakota led in work environment (54.3), Minnesota earned the top score for physical health (79.9) and Massachusetts was ranked first for basic access (86.6).

Southern and rust-belt states are among the nation’s worst performing in well-being. The states with lowest Well-Being Index scores are West Virginia (62.3), Kentucky (63.3), Mississippi (63.4), Delaware (64.2), Ohio (64.5), Alabama (64.6), Arkansas (64.7), Missouri (64.8), Florida (64.9), Tennessee (65.0) and Nevada (65.0).

“Increased well-being is vital to improving the physical, emotional and financial health of Americans,” said Daniel Witters, lead Well-Being Index researcher at Gallup. “It is an effective predictor of healthcare costs, job performance and productivity. These data can help identify needs and guide interventions to improve the well-being of the nation.”

Best State and City Performers for 2011:

Top 10 Well-Being States
        Top 10 Large Cities
1. Hawaii        
1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
2. North Dakota        
2. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD
3. Minnesota        
3. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA
4. Alaska        
4. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN-WI
5. Utah        
5. Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, NC-SC
6. Colorado        
6. Raleigh-Cary, NC
7. Kansas        
7. Salt Lake City, UT
8. Nebraska        
8. Rochester, NY
9. New Hampshire        
9. San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA
10. Montana        
10. Austin-Round Rock, TX


Key Sub-Index Changes:

  • The Healthy Behavior Index score - which includes smoking, eating and exercise habits - fell slightly to 63.4 in 2011, down from 64.1 in 2010, but is on par with the 63.1 in 2009 and 63.3 in 2008.
  • The Physical Health Index score - reflecting the number of sick days taken over the past month, disease burden and obesity - has remained essentially unchanged over the past four years; it was 76.7 in 2011, 76.9 in 2010, 76.6 in 2009 and 76.7 in 2008.
  • The Emotional Health Index - gauging Americans’ happiness, sadness and depression levels, among other things - was slightly lower at 79.0; in 2010 it rose to 79.3, from 78.7 in 2009 and 79.1 in 2008.

About the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index™ (WBI)

Gallup, the world’s best known and most respected behavioral science authority, and Healthways (NASDAQ: HWAY), the world’s largest well-being improvement company, conducted 353,492 surveys between January and December 2011. The WBI, which has been polling 1,000 Americans per day, 350 days a year, evaluates six key areas of well-being in an effort to better understand the overall state of well-being in the U.S.

More than 1.4 million surveys have been collected since polling began in January 2008, making the WBI the largest database of behavioral economics and information concerning holistic well-being in existence. The WBI is calculated on a scale of 0 to 100, where a score of 100 represents ideal well-being.

The 55 core questions that make up the WBI survey were scientifically designed by some of the world’s leading experts in economics, psychology and health to thoroughly measure how respondents are faring in all aspects of their lives: physically, emotionally, socially and professionally, as well as to take a daily pulse of how Americans rate the overall quality of their current life and outlook for the future.

The data resulting from the WBI can be used to identify where communities are doing well and where communities are struggling to target policies and invest in initiatives to optimize well-being, improving the lives of people in America and reducing healthcare costs.


About Healthways

Healthways is the leading provider of specialized, comprehensive solutions to help millions of people maintain or improve their health and well-being and, as a result, reduce overall costs. Healthways’ solutions are designed to keep healthy people healthy, reduce health-related risks and optimize care for those with chronic illness. Our proven, evidence-based programs provide highly specific and personalized interventions for each individual in a population, irrespective of age or health status, and are delivered to consumers by phone, mail, Internet and face-to-face interactions, both domestically and internationally. Healthways also provides a national, fully accredited complementary and alternative Health Provider Network and a national Fitness Center Network, offering convenient access to individuals who seek health services outside of, and in conjunction with, the traditional health care system. For more information, please visit


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