WASHINGTON and NASHVILLE, Tenn., Feb. 23, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Communities in Florida, California, Colorado and Texas dominated the top well-being communities for 2014-2015, according to a new report from Healthways, Inc. (NASDAQ:HWAY), a well-being improvement leader, and Gallup, a world-leading management consulting firm. The community of Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Florida, had the highest well-being in the report, “State of American Well-Being: 2015 Community Well-Being Rankings and Access to Care.”
The report was produced in collaboration with global healthcare organization Health eVillages, a program of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and Aptus Health. It ranks 190 U.S. communities for overall well-being and includes a special section on community access to basic healthcare services, such as health insurance and having a personal doctor.
“Access to healthcare services is not an obligation, it’s a right for every single individual on this earth,” said Donato Tramuto, CEO, Healthways, and founder and chairman of Health eVillages. “When we strive to give all people access to community health services and expand and extend those services in a safe environment, then we are building the right foundation to improve the well-being of our country.”
“Healthcare is a basic human right and every community in the country has an opportunity to improve,” said Kerry Kennedy, president, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, and member, Health eVillages board of directors. “Leaders need metrics that illuminate where the pressing needs exist and where to invest for change.”
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. In the U.S., the Well-Being Index goes beyond physical health alone to capture an individual’s sense of purpose, social relationships, financial security and relationship to their community.
The ten communities with the highest well-being in the nation are:
- Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Florida
- Salinas, California
- North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida
- Fort Collins, Colorado
- Barnstable Town, Massachusetts
- Santa Cruz-Watsonville, California
- Boulder, Colorado
- Charlottesville, Virginia
- Anchorage, Alaska
- San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, California
“U.S. communities are in many ways on the front lines of American well-being,” said Dan Witters, research director of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index. “From the influence of local leadership, to the vibrancy of good jobs and job creation, to an ability to influence infrastructure changes, cities are able to engender a culture of well-being among residents in ways that can effect meaningful and positive change.”
According to the report, Charleston, West Virginia, is the community with the lowest well-being, ranking as the lowest or second lowest well-being community in three of the five elements: purpose, financial and physical. Issues that often contribute to low rankings, such as the rate of obesity and whether or not residents have pride in the community or area where they live, can be addressed through community interventions.
One example is Blue Zones Project by Healthways™, which works with local government and other agencies to enact changes that enhance opportunities for healthier lifestyles and community life, such as more walkable and bike-friendly environments, farmers markets and social activities.
“It’s not impossible to improve well-being in communities,” said Dan Buettner, Blue Zones LLC founder and National Geographic Fellow. “By focusing on making healthier surroundings, we’ve been able to help people live longer and better in 26 American cities. The key is identifying evidence-based designs and policies that make the healthy choice, the easy choice. Then having a comprehensive plan to implement those nudges in schools, grocery stores, restaurants, workplaces and with municipal governments.”
The “State of American Well-Being: 2015 Community Well-Being Rankings and Access to Care” report includes important information about the ability of citizens in 190 communities to afford and access basic health services. While there is good news about national levels of food and healthcare insecurity – these metrics have reached their lowest points since measurement began in 2008 – there are still many communities around the country where significant gaps exist relative to basic access to care. For example, in Charleston, West Virginia, the lowest-ranked community in the report, 25.9 percent reported not having enough money for healthcare at least one time in the previous year and 24.9 percent reported not having enough money for food in the same time period.
To access the complete report, “State of American Well-Being: 2015 Community Well-Being Rankings and Access to Care,” as well as summaries on each state in the U.S., visit http://www.well-beingindex.com/2015-community-rankings.
Gallup delivers forward-thinking research, analytics, and advice to help leaders solve their most pressing problems. Combining more than 75 years of experience with its global reach, Gallup knows more about the attitudes and behaviors of the world's constituents, employees, and customers than any other organization. Gallup consultants help private and public sector organizations boost organic growth through measurement tools, strategic advice, and education. Gallup’s 2,000 professionals deliver services at client organizations, through the Web, and in nearly 40 offices around the world.
Healthways (NASDAQ:HWAY) 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.
About Health eVillages
Health eVillages, a program of the not-for-profit Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights and Aptus Health, provides state-of-the-art mobile health technology including medical reference and clinical decision-support resources to medical professionals in the most challenging clinical environments around the world. More information can be found at http://www.healthevillages.org/.
About Blue Zones
Blue Zones employs evidence-based ways to help people live longer, better. The Company's work is rooted in the New York Times best-selling books The Blue Zones Solution: Eating and Living Like the World’s Healthiest People, The Blue Zones and Thrive—all published by National Geographic books. Since 2009, Blue Zones has applied the tenets of the books to communities and corporations across the U.S. and has successfully raised life expectancy and lowered health care costs while bringing down smoking and obesity rates. Blue Zones takes a systematic, environmental approach to well-being, which focuses on optimizing policy, building design, social networks, and the built environment. The Blue Zones Project is based on this innovative approach. For more information, visit www.bluezones.com.