Sure, Vermont is often ranked among the healthiest states in the nation but in the most recent Gallup poll looking at overall well-being in America, Vermont came in a very close second (scoring 64.09 vs. 64.10) to South Dakota for overall well being. Hawaii was third, followed by Minnesota, North Dakota and Colorado.
The poll asked people to rate their states on a number of lifestyle factors. Vermont scored highest in the nation in Community (liking where you live, feeling safe, having pride in your community) and Physical (having good health and energy to get things done. No surprises there. But it also scored second for Social (having supported relationships and love in your life) and fourth in Financial (managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security. The only category Vermont did not fare so well in was Purpose (liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals), where we ranked 30th. The lowest ranking states were West Virginia, Louisiana and Arkansas.
Overall, the national well-being score declined from 62.1 in 2016 to 61.5 in 2017.
Among the recommendations the poll suggested:
Engage Individuals and Promote Sustained Lifestyle Changes—Strategies to improve well-being across populations start with the individual. A holistic, ultra-personal approach that goes beyond physical health to encompass purpose, social, financial and community factors helps identify and mitigate the underlying root causes of poor health. By delivering a dynamic user experience that includes high touch (live coaching) and high tech (self-directed digital coaching), and serves up appropriate content (from disease management through lifestyle management), individuals can better manage their health. This dynamic approach moves healthcare from episodic to everyday, helping to educate and activate people to live their healthiest lives.
Foster a Culture of Well-Being—Creating a workforce strengthened by well-being begins with leadership engagement, employee well-being measurement and an internal analysis of current well-being initiatives, barriers and needs. The process incorporates all functional tenets of the organization: leadership, values and rituals, human capital, structure, and performance. Organizations need to think about work experience from the employee point of view and consider how policies, structures and workplace culture affect employee well-being. To that point, managers play a vital role in both employee engagement and well-being. Gallup research shows managers influence 70% of their team’s engagement, and engaged workers are 28% more likely to participate in a wellness program. Companies who provide manager training to promote well-being within their teams accelerate the culture of well-being. Companies who cultivate a culture of well-being ultimately gain a competitive advantage through better employee performance, lower turnover, reduced absenteeism, and a higher sense of individual and shared purpose.
Create an Active Living Environment; Make the Healthy Choice the Easy Choice— Communities that invest in active living, including bike paths, parks, walkability and public transit, have residents with better health and well-being outcomes. Gallup-Sharecare research shows that residents in high active living communities have significantly lower rates of smoking, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and depression; and significantly higher rates of exercise, healthy eating, fresh produce consumption and physical thriving. Many communities are beginning to make healthy choices easier, encouraging people to move naturally and develop strong social networks by designing streets for all users, creating new transportation and land use policies, and utilizing mixed-use housing development. Cooperation from local schools, worksites, restaurants, grocery stores, faithbased organizations, and city government helps ensure that environmental changes have lasting, community-wide impact, improving residents’ health and well-being.
Measure, Benchmark, and Identify Opportunities—Measurement is the foundation of any well-being program. Leaders benchmark their populations, understand gaps and opportunities, and prioritize interventions. In short, measurement informs the overall strategy and quantifies the efficacy of well-being programs and their return on investment.
Photo: Craftsbury Marathon, courtesy Craftsbury Outdoor Center
The full poll is here:
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