The Well-Being Journal

Select Communities in Florida, California, Colorado and Texas Excel in Gallup-Healthways Rankings

Cameron Bowman

The importance of promoting well-being within a community cannot be overstated. While higher well-being not only has a tangible impact on lowering healthcare costs and improving job performance, it also signifies better quality of life, greater sense of purpose and closer relationships within a community setting. A new report from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index® indicates that while many communities nationwide have high well-being, there is still room for improvement even at the highest levels. The report, entitled “State of American Well-Being: 2015 Community Well-Being Rankings and Access to Care,” examines the comparative well-being of 190 communities across the nation.

Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Florida was the nation’s highest well-being community, followed closely by Salinas, California. Naples scores very highly in both purpose (4th) and social (6th) well-being and is particularly strong in community well-being, with a No. 1 placement in this element. Another Florida community, North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, ranks No. 3 overall and is No. 1 in financial well-being. Corpus Christi, Texas is the No. 1 community for both purpose and social well-being, although lower rankings in other elements leave it at No. 35 overall. Boulder, Colorado, a community with the lowest level of obesity in the nation, is the No. 1 community for physical well-being. These and other select communities in Florida, California, Colorado and Texas are among the communities that lead in well-being, and communities from these four states account for 14 of the top 20 in the rankings.

On the other end of the spectrum, low well-being communities are spread out across a more geographically diverse group of states. However, Ohio claims five of the lowest 20 well-being communities. The lowest overall well-being community in the rankings, Charleston, West Virginia, also has the lowest physical well-being.

To discover where other communities — including yours —are ranked, download a copy of the report today. You can also subscribe to content from the Well-Being Index; by subscribing, we’ll let you know when we release new reports and insights from the Well-Being Index.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index uses a holistic definition of well-being and self-reported data from individuals across the globe to create a uniquely comprehensive view of societal progress on the elements that matter most to well-being: purpose, social, financial, community and physical. Previous Gallup and Healthways research shows that high well-being closely relates to key health outcomes such as lower rates of healthcare utilization, lower workplace absenteeism and better workplace performance, change in obesity status and new onset disease burden.

 

Topics: Basic Access Community Rankings

Alabama's Anniston Star Gets It

Sandy Cummings

This week, Gallup and Healthways released our analysis of the state of well-being for communities, states and congressional districts in the United States. We've been conducting this research and analysis for six years now, and it always yields interesting tidbits -- for example, Boulder has the nation’s lowest obesity rate at 12.4%, making it the only community in the United States (covered by the report) that meets the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s stated goal of 15% obesity rate or lower.

The analysis generates some media attention each year. After all, we care about where we live, and we want to know how our states and communities fare in the rankings. Does the research echo what we believe to be true about our homes and our experiences?

We were excited to see the news covered this year by USA Today, The Huffington Post, the Boston Globe and many other media outlets -- even Diane Sawyer gave us a shout-out on "ABC World News Tonight." That's heady stuff.

But the editorial board at Alabama's relatively small Anniston Star really captured the reason that we collaborate on the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index in the first place. Take a look. It's a quick read, but an important one, because Alabama ranked 47th this year, ahead of only three states — Mississippi, Kentucky and West Virginia.

Well-being isn't the same as being happy, nor is it synonymous with good physical health or wealth. Tom Rath, who literally wrote the book on well-being, describes it as "the interaction between physical health, finding your daily work and interactions fulfilling, having strong social relationships and access to the resources you need, feeling financially secure, and being part of a true community."

In short, in areas where well-being is high, people have a greater tendency to be leading their best lives. And that, in turn, impacts business performance, healthcare costs and many other factors that are vital to helping communities thrive and grow.

Understanding where a population -- a state, a community, a company -- stands when it comes to well-being is the first step toward setting successful strategies for improvement. Because well-being can be improved -- it just takes leadership.

As the editorial board of the Anniston Star put it:

Not everyone in Alabama is obese. Not everyone has habits harmful to his or her health. Not everyone has trouble finding decent housing or healthy food. Not everyone has a fatalistic outlook on life. Yet, we all must work together.

Alabama is an example of what happens in the absence of leadership. Too many of its residents are denied an opportunity at the American Dream.

Past performance doesn't lock us into this prison forever. Everyone has a stake in seeing these conditions improve. Our prosperity as a state depends on it.

Topics: Well-Being Links of the Week Basic Access In the News Healthcare Community Well-Being Index Gallup Leadership

It's Better to Give

Jennifer Rudloff

With the holiday season upon us, Healthways continues its tradition of partnering with local organizations to shop for children who are at risk or less fortunate. It’s a tradition that began several years ago when a group of administrative assistants suggested this thoughtful idea as an alternative to a colleague gift exchange and lunch.

Getting Ready to Shop St. Louis colleagues getting ready to shop

At each of our locations, colleagues step away from their desks in the holiday spirit and head out by the busload to shop. Each person gets to shop for a specific child, picking up items from their list like clothes, toys and books. Healthways picks up the tab and we all get to be a part of spreading holiday cheer into our communities. It’s one of our colleagues’ favorite ways to be involved in sustaining our values-based culture.

With all of our locations participating, Healthways expects to give more than $120,000 worth of gifts and donations this year. Several locations have already completed their shopping, and others will wrap up this week. It’s wonderful to think about the smiles that will light up on Christmas morning, knowing that we’re helping bring joy and showing love and compassion to those who need it.

These are some of the local organizations and people our colleagues across the U.S. are working with to shop for those in need:

Wrapping Our San Antonio location aglow wrapping gifts for kids. See more pictures as they roll in on our Facebook page.

Chandler, Ariz.: Boys & Girls Clubs of the East Valley, Child Crisis Center, Sojourner Center, New Horizon Youth Homes, Be a Santa to a Senior
Des Moines, Iowa: Bidwell Riverside Center
Franklin, Tenn. (HQ): Youth Villages and McNeilly Children’s Center
Hawaii: Hawaii H.O.M.E. Project
Minnesota: Union Gospel Mission
Salt Lake City, Utah: Two families who have a child receiving treatment for cancer at Primary Children's Medical Center
San Antonio, Texas: Family Services Association and San Antonio Humane Society
St. Louis, Mo.: Operation Food Search together with 7 different churches in North St. Charles county
Others in Dallas, Texas and Seattle, Wash.

You can help too.
We know from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index® that there are many Americans having trouble affording basic necessities like shelter and food. So we’d like to challenge you to also take a moment this holiday season to count your blessings, and think about how you can bestow one on someone in need. And maybe even make a tradition of it.

Even if you can’t give a tangible gift, an intangible gift such as your presence can mean the world to someone and benefit you too. A Gallup survey in conjunction with the Well-Being Index found that people who volunteered in the last six months experienced higher personal well-being across all domains (emotional health, healthy behavior, physical health and more) than those who did not volunteer. It just goes to show that it's truly better to give.

Topics: Financial Well-Being Basic Access Physical Health Emotional Health Community Well-Being Index Culture Events Leadership

The Science of Well-Being

Jennifer Rudloff

Why does Well-Being matter? Intrinsically, we all understand that higher well-being is better. That much is pretty straight forward. What you may not realize is the impact well-being has on key business metrics such as healthcare costs, productivity, performance, and employee engagement for your organization. In this white paper, The Science of Well-Being, we explore the evidence around why improving well-being is critical for elevating your businesses performance.

Key Points include:

  • Explanation and validation of the measures used in the Healthways Well-Being Assessment™ (WBA)
  • Discussion of the components included in the WBA and why they're important to business leaders
  • How our productivity measures can be used to diagnose areas of opportunity to improve performance
  • Examination of key findings regarding how well-being relates to:
    • Health care utilization and cost
    • Productivity (absenteeism and presenteeism)
    • Job performance
    • Employee engagement

White Paper: The Science of Well-Being

Topics: Healthy Living Well-Being Basic Access Work Environment Workplace Well-Being Physical Health Business Performance Health Emotional Health Well-Being Index HRA Wellness Measure Wellness wellbeing assessment Life Evaluation Productivity Healthways Health Risk Assessment