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The healthiest state of them all is...
February 27th, 2012
03:46 PM ET

The healthiest state of them all is...

Aloha. The state with the highest score for “well-being” is Hawaii, according to the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, a poll that surveys the physical, mental and emotional health of Americans.

With its fair weather and scenic views, Hawaii led in overall well-being as its residents were most likely to report that they had smiled and/or laughed the day before and had the lowest rates of stress and depression.

They also tended to report better eating and exercise habits, and lower smoking rates.

The poll examined people’s ratings in life evaluation (whether they saw themselves as struggling or thriving), physical health (obesity, number of sick days taken over the month), emotional health (happiness, depression, stress), healthy behaviors (smoking, eating, exercising), work environment (job satisfaction, treatment at work) and basic access (safety in the neighborhood, access to medicine, doctor, health insurance).

The poll surveyed a random sample of 353,492 adults using random-digit-dial sampling during 2011. The maximum margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point.

Here are the top five states in well-being scores:

1. Hawaii
2. North Dakota
3. Minnesota
4. Alaska
5. Utah

The top five large metropolitan areas for well-being scores were:

1. San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California
2. Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-Virginia-Maryland
3. San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, California
4. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, Minnesota-Wisconsin
5. Charlotte-Gastonia-Concord, North Carolina-South Carolina

Geographically, Western and Midwestern states fared well in health scores while the Southern states usually sat lower. Southern states also tended to have the highest obesity rates.

The top five worst states for well-being scores:

1. West Virginia
2. Kentucky
3. Mississippi
4. Delaware
5. Ohio

If you want to see where your city ranks, check here.


soundoff (131 Responses)
  1. Erik

    Hey geniuses, if you wanted an article ranking states by intelligence then you should've clicked *that* article. This article is about ranking states by health, genius.

    February 29, 2012 at 09:26 | Report abuse | Reply
    • cnnjunkie12

      You must live in a state that ranks high in crankiness.

      February 29, 2012 at 14:23 | Report abuse |
  2. becca

    ya, i certainly laughed and smiled a lot during my stay in Kauai, Hawaii! things are much more laid-back off the mainland

    February 29, 2012 at 09:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Ron

    Just checking the congressional district rankings, in New Jersey they match the most prosperous areas of the state. Why wouldn't the people there feel well-being? They are doing well, even if they're not doing good.

    February 29, 2012 at 09:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. argis

    Hard to believe – i though hawaiians had the highest rate of heart disease from all the pork they eat. Ever seen what most of them look like – very overweight...

    February 29, 2012 at 10:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • tyre

      Only about 10% of the population of the State of Hawaii are Native Hawaiians.

      February 29, 2012 at 14:22 | Report abuse |
    • anonymous

      Guessing you've never been to Texas?

      March 1, 2012 at 14:42 | Report abuse |
  5. Allen West

    Respondent feedback seems flawed or at least the Universe and methodology. I would guess that if you chose the retired in FL living in a beautiful gated community and all they have to do all day is plan their golfing, dining, drinking, afternoon delight, social activity and sunsets on the beach and you rewind that daily the results would equal Hawaii – they must have surveyed the poor locals to garner such poor FL results. I always feel MUCH heathier when in FL and especially so when I retire in the near future – Snowy Climates can kiss off!😉

    February 29, 2012 at 14:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Ashleigh Kirk

    So here's some stat, but what do they mean? There is no info on how long people had been in that state, city etc. Were they born there and felt OK to stay? Were they determined to move away in search of success? Did those who left home make it and feel good, or are they still desperate for success and stressed? Did people have to move for work/employment and hate that. Do some areas have a brain drain and the ones left have no ambition and are content? Do certain types of people move to certain area? Like laidback people might moveto Hawaii, while more driven types might be bored to death there. etc etc.

    February 29, 2012 at 18:57 | Report abuse | Reply
    • sane

      Do you ever shut up?

      March 1, 2012 at 11:23 | Report abuse |
  7. Irina

    I think the President has done the best job that can be expected in times such as these. Let's not rfgoet that he assumed office amid the worst economic situation since the Great Depression. No one can dispute that. Since then, he has worked to keep the economy afloat, and that effort has been mostly successful. However, it can't be done without creating some kind of economic activity. Government spending is the natural way to do this, and several leading economists support this method.With regard to foreign policy, the President has worked to restore the image of America and re-establish our relationships around the world. This starts with respecting the sovereignty of all nations and recognizing that we all benefit from improved relations abroad. Amidst two wars, one of which was not necessary, the President has shown great strength and leadership in addressing the needs of our military. As a result, they are winning on these fronts and have a clear mission.Domestically, Pres. Obama has worked toward implementing the most significant health care legislation in over 40 years. The reason it has taken so long is because it is a controversial issue with wide-ranging opinions. When you get to the bottom of the legislation, however, it is not the vilified, death-panel-creating bill that is commonly advertised. Considering the continuum of international health systems ranging from socialistic government-employed health workers to the market oriented system of fully private health insurance, this bill is solidly in the middle. Important medical decisions are made between a patient and his/her physician, and those who make less than 400% of poverty will receive assistance to purchase a private, non-government health insurance policy.With elections coming up this November, it is likely that the power of Congress will shift in some way. It is unknown whether or not it results in a complete shift of majority. What I can say is that I hope for new party leadership on both sides of the aisle that focuses on solving problems together and acts in the common interest of all Americans. I believe that opinions will differ and debate will take place; however, I think the tone of this Congress' leadership has become far too distasteful, and that is part of the reason for America's frustration with Washington.

    April 9, 2012 at 02:26 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.