Five of the happiest, healthiest states were revealed in an annual “well-being” ranking which also listed five states that are not so happy and healthy, and the findings are rather surprising.
Leading the happy-healthy list are South Dakota and Vermont, which tied for the top spot in the Gallup-Sharecare 2017 State of American Well-Being Rankings, Today reported.
Researchers assessed the well-being of residents based on their health and sense of purpose, their social relationships, financial situations and community involvement, Live Science reported.
The top five states, ranked by their own well-being scores out of a possible 100, as listed by Live Science:
1. South Dakota 64.1
2. Vermont 64.1
3. Hawaii 63.4
4. Minnesota 63.1
5. North Dakota 63.1
“For those of us who follow this closely over the years, it’s not a surprise to see South Dakota and Vermont sharing that perch,” Dan Witters, research director of the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index, told Today. “They’re both historically very high well-being states. They both have a lot of good things going for them.”
Hawaii, listed among the top four states after scoring high for purpose, social and community well-being, was the only state to rank in the top 10 across all elements of well-being in 2017.
On the other end of the scale, West Virginia was at the bottom of the healthy-happy list for its high rates of obesity, diabetes, smoking and depression.
The survey said its residents were “carrying around way too many pounds,” and were “lighting up way too much,” Today noted.
“Their disease burden is generally quite significant… their mental health is also quite poor. That gives you a sense of the kinds of struggles they fight with that toss sand in the gears of their overall well-being.”
The five states at the bottom of the list, per Live Science, are:
1. Oklahoma 59.7
2. Mississippi 59.6
3. Arkansas 59.4
4. Louisiana 58.9
5. West Virginia 58.8
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