Boulder, CO Healthiest US Metro Area

March 16, 2011

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gallup-top-10-metro-areas-overall-wellbeing-mar11.gifBoulder, CO, had the highest Well-Being Index score (73.7) in the US across the 188 metropolitan areas that Gallup and Healthways surveyed in 2010. Lincoln, NB; Fort Collins-Loveland, CO; Provo-Orem, UT; and Honolulu, HI round out the top five metro areas with the highest well-being scores.

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index score is an average of six sub-indexes, which individually examine life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors, and access to basic necessities. The overall score and each of the six sub-index scores are calculated on a scale from 0 to 100, where a score of 100 represents the ideal. Gallup and Healthways have been tracking these measures daily since January 2008.

Honolulu Tops List in Life Evaluation and Emotional Health

gallup-metro-wellbeing-subindex-mar-2011.JPGHonolulu had the highest scores on two of the six sub-indexes: Life Evaluation and Emotional Health. Boulder had the highest score in the nation on the Physical Health Index, while Holland-Grand Haven, MI., residents had the best access to basic necessities. Gainesville, FL, had the highest Work Environment Index score, and residents living in Salinas, CA, had the highest Healthy Behaviors Index score.

Worst Well-Being Index Score Dips Below 60

gallup-metro-wellbeing-bottom-mar-2011.JPGHuntington-Ashland WV-KY-OH had the lowest Well-Being Index score in 2010, at 58.1, and the only score below 60 in the nation. The regional breakdown in well-being scores is largely consistent with Gallup and Healthways state-level results, which find wellbeing higher in the West and lower in the South.

Notable exceptions are the inclusion of Western metro areas Redding, CA (61.5), Lake Havasu City-Kingman, AZ (62.3) and Prescott, AZ (62.4). One Northeastern metro area, Utica-Rome, NY, also made the worst list (62.6).

Midwestern, Southern Metro Areas Have Lowest Sub-Index Scores

In contrast, Huntington-Ashland, residents reported the worst emotional and physical health, while healthy behaviors were least prevalent in the Myrtle Beach, SC metro area in 2010. McAllen-Edinburg-Mission, TX residents reported the worst access to basic necessities, which is tied in part to the high percentage of uninsured in the metro area.

Washington, D.C., and Austin, TX Have Highest Well-being Among Large Cities

gallup-metro-wellbeing-large-mar-2011.JPGWashington, D.C.-Arlington-Alexandria, VA-MD-WV residents had the highest well-being (69.9)among the nation’s 52 largest metropolitan areas, those with 1 million or more residents, followed closely by Austin-Round Rock, TX (69.8).

Louisville-Jefferson County, KY-IN had the lowest wellbeing among large cities (63.5). Four of the five lowest-ranked large metro areas are in the South or Midwest, along with one in the West: Las Vegas-Paradise, NV (64.2).

Obesity Highest in WV, Lowest in CO

West Virginia (33.5%) has the highest rate of adult obesity of any US state, while Colorado (20%) has the lowest, according to other recent Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index data. The prevalence of obesity is nearly 35% higher, on average, in the 11 states with the highest obesity levels compared with the 10 states with the lowest obesity levels: 30.5% vs. 22.6%, respectively.

About the Data: Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey Jan. 2-Dec. 29, 2010, with a random sample of 352,840 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 US states and the District of Columbia, selected using random-digit-dial sampling.


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