WASHINGTON and NASHVILLE, Tenn. , Jan. 28, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- For the eighth consecutive year, global well-being improvement leader Healthways, Inc. (NASDAQ:HWAY) and analytics and advice firm Gallup have released their results of the state of well-being across the United States. Hawaii achieved the highest overall well-being in the nation for the fifth time in eight years, while West Virginia ranked as the state with the lowest well-being for the seventh consecutive year.
The analysis is based on data from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index®, a definitive measure and empiric database of real-time changes in well-being throughout the world. Over 177,000 interviews with individuals nationwide were included in the 2015 analysis, which goes beyond physical components to capture how Americans feel and experience the context of their daily lives. In addition to capturing aspects of physical health, the Well-Being Index examines Americans’ perceptions on topics that span individuals’ sense of purpose, social relationships, financial security and relationship to their community. These five interrelated elements are proven to directly influence quality of life, healthcare costs and workplace productivity.
“Americans struggle notoriously when it comes to balancing day-to-day life with behaviors that can keep us well. The time is right for policymakers, employers and the community to work together to improve well-being across our nation,” said Donato J. Tramuto, CEO, Healthways. “Leaders are beginning to step up as champions, investing to help their employees, members, and citizens live and work better, to realize healthier lifestyles and better manage illness. These leaders know that investments in well-being have a measurable and sustainable impact on business performance, as well as far-reaching benefits that impact the health of communities, states and our nation as a whole.”
Hawaii reclaimed the top spot as the state with the highest well-being. Alaska, last year’s leader, slipped to second. Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Minnesota, Utah, Arizona and California rounded out the top 10. Kentucky and West Virginia continued to have the lowest well-being in the nation, ranking 49th and 50th, respectively.
Additional insights on the state rankings include:
- In addition to its highest overall score, Hawaii ranked #1 in physical well-being and ranks in the top 10 for every element except social well-being.
- Hawaii and Colorado are the only two states to finish in the top 10 in all eight years of the rankings, with Hawaii occupying the 1st or 2nd spot every year but 2013.
- Since 2012, Hawaii and Colorado join eight other states - Montana, South Dakota, Minnesota, Utah, Nebraska, Iowa, Alaska and Vermont – as having the most consistently high well-being.
- Florida and Alabama had large positive shifts in well-being, with Florida moving up 14 spots in the ranking to 12th overall and Alabama jumping 18 places to 28th overall.
- Vermont had the largest decline in the rankings, moving down 16 spots from 13th in 2014 to 29th in 2015.
“We are seeing many significant positive developments in well-being nationally, including a decline in the uninsured rate, a decline in smoking and an uptick in financial well-being, but there is still much to be done on the national front and at the state and organizational level,” said Dan Witters, Principal, Research Director, Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, Gallup. “One specific area of concern continues to be the obesity rate, which continued its relentless upward climb in 2015 and reached another new high, breaking the 28% barrier for the first time. It would behoove state and local leaders of government as well as employers and health plans to take a close look at all of the factors influencing the well-being of their constituents in order to build meaningful strategies for improvement.”
In the United States, higher well-being has been shown to correlate with lower healthcare costs and increased worker productivity, in turn enhancing organizational and community competitiveness. Globally, higher well-being has been associated with outcomes indicative of stability and resilience — for example, intent to migrate, trust in elections and local institutions, daily stress, food/shelter security, volunteerism and willingness to help others.
“Recent research at HERO demonstrates a compelling correlation between companies that deliver strong financial returns and those that have documented, best practice wellness programs,” said Paul Terry, president and CEO, HERO (the Health Enhancement Research Organization). “This knowledge can benefit business leaders looking for a competitive edge and investors looking for a sound investment.”
“Data now indicates that people do not leave their problems at their doorsteps when they leave home nor do they leave their work challenges at their desks when they leave work,” added Tramuto. “As leaders, we have an indispensable opportunity to help move the needle and deliver on the constitutional promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all.”
To access the complete report, “State of American Well-Being: 2015 State Well-Being Rankings,” visit www.well-beingindex.com/2015-state-rankings. Gallup and Healthways will release community rankings in February.
About the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index
In 2008, Gallup and Healthways initiated a 25-year partnership merging decades of clinical research and development expertise, health leadership and behavioral economics research to track and understand the key factors that drive well-being. Together, the partnership has built the world’s largest data set on well-being, with over 2.3 million surveys to date of people and their perceptions of their well-being.
Launched that same year, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index® provides unmatched, in-depth insight into the well-being of populations. Gallup conducts 500 telephone interviews a day with Americans to gather their perceptions of well-being, for a resulting sample that projects to an estimated 95 percent of all U.S. adults. In 2015, 177,281 interviews with U.S. adults across all 50 states were conducted from January-December. The Well-Being Index is calculated on a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 represents the lowest possible well-being and 100 represents the highest possible well-being.
Gallup delivers analytics and advice to help leaders and organizations solve their most pressing problems. Combining more than 80 years of experience with its global reach, Gallup knows more about the attitudes and behaviors of employees, customers, students and citizens than any other organization in the world.
Healthways is the largest independent global provider of well-being improvement solutions. Dedicated to creating a healthier world one person at a time, the Company uses the science of behavior change to produce and measure positive change in well-being for our customers, which include employers, integrated health systems, hospitals, physicians, health plans, communities and government entities. We provide highly specific and personalized support for each individual and their team of experts to optimize each participant’s health and productivity and to reduce health-related costs. Results are achieved by addressing longitudinal health risks and care needs of everyone in a given population. The Company has scaled its proprietary technology infrastructure and delivery capabilities developed over 30 years and now serves approximately 68 million people on four continents. Learn more at www.healthways.com.