Where Facts And Controversy In The News Come Together In Truth

Thursday, March 8, 2012

New Study Makes West Virginia Appear As Most Miserable State In US

2012 Study Claims Tri-States As Worst Area For Health, Income And Happiness... by Jack Swint

Once again, the nationally known Gallup Wellbeing report slams West Virginia and residents as having the highest obesity rates, most adult smokers, 3rd highest in cancer & diabetes and six highest in poverty. According to their study, researchers based their results on ‘telephone interviews’ conducted as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index survey Jan. 2-Dec. 29, 2011, with a random sample of 353,492 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, selected using random-digit-dial sampling.”

Interviews were conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Landline telephone numbers were chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cell phone numbers were selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Keep in mind, while reading their findings about individual well-being statistics in our state; they only contacted 2,242 West Virginians out of an estimated 1,855,364.

According to their website, “Gallop has studied human nature and behavior for more than 75 years. Gallup's reputation for delivering relevant, timely, and visionary research on what people around the world think and feel is the cornerstone of the organization. Gallup employs many of the world's leading scientists in management, economics, psychology, and sociology, and our consultants assist leaders in identifying and monitoring behavioral economic indicators worldwide.”

West Virginia Ranks Worst Of The Worst

According to the new study…. “West Virginia residents are least happy people overall in the country, and it appears they have many reasons to feel so blue. The state is particularly poor. It has the second-lowest median household income at $38,218 and the sixth-highest rate of poverty. Residents also face a number of health issues that includes the second highest obesity rate in the entire US, 32.5%.”

Back in 1990, the obesity rate in WV was only 15%; by 2000 we were at 23% and now its 32.5%. It appears that the numerous state initiated programs to improve health and reduce obesity aren’t working?

More than 10% of West Virginians have had heart attacks or are suffering from coronary artery disease, the highest rates in the country. The state has the third-highest rates of cancer and diabetes. It also has the highest rate of smokers, with 26.8% of adults indulging in the habit. These problems are all reflected in life expectancy of 75.2 years, which is the second-lowest in the country.” And, as the study reflects, WV’s rates remained similar from 2008 to 2011.

Adults with at least a High School Diploma: 83.2%

On The National Level

The national score dropped slightly from 66.8 in 2010 to 66.2 in 2011, the lowest since the Index was launched in 2008. Of the 10 states with the highest levels of well-being, nine are in the West and Midwest. Of the 10 with the lowest scores, five are in the South.

In general, the states where people report the lowest levels of well-being suffer from similar woes like low median household incomes, high poverty, relatively low levels of education. 

“The national obesity rate declined slightly to 26.1% in 2011, from 26.6% in 2010. Across states, obesity rates remained statistically unchanged from 2010 to 2011 in all but two; New Jersey and Kentucky, where they declined. This marks a positive change from the recent past. Obesity had inched up in 2009 and 2010 compared with 2008. Perhaps the most common shared factor among the states that report the lowest well-being is poor health. 

Nine of the states on this list are among the 15 with the lowest life expectancies. Obesity is exceptionally high in seven. Seven also fall within the 10 states that have the highest rates of smoking. Rates of heart disease, cancer and diabetes are also all particularly high.

Healthy behaviors are highly correlated with low obesity levels, while poor health outcomes are strongly correlated with high obesity rates, according to a state-level correlation analysis of all of the 55 items the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index measures. Eating healthily, exercising frequently, not smoking, and having easy access to a place to exercise are among the behaviors or situations most strongly correlated with low obesity rates.

The Remaining Gallup 'Most Miserable States'

Nevada (11)

Nevada ranked worst in the nation in the basic access category, which measures how residents rate their access to necessities such as medical care, having enough money for food and satisfaction with one's community. That may not be surprising, considering that Nevada's unemployment rate is 12.6%, the highest in the country.

The state was among the hardest hit by the housing crisis: Home values have fallen 60% since their peak in the first quarter of 2006 which is the steepest price decline in the country. An additional burden on those living in Nevada is its violent crime rate. In 2010, there were 660.6 incidents of violent crime per 100,000 residents, the highest rate in the nation. Life expectancy: 77.6 years.

Adults with at least a High School Diploma: 84.7%

Tennessee (10)

Since 2010, the state's already-poor scores in the well-being categories that measure life evaluation, emotional health and physical health have all declined. The state's economy is in very poor shape: Unemployment is above the national average, the poverty rate is the 10th highest in the country and median income is the sixth-lowest in the country. Tennessee residents' physical health and healthy behavior are also among the poorest: They have the 14th-highest rate of smoking, the ninth-highest rate of obesity, and the fifth-highest rate of heart disease. Life expectancy: 76.2 years.

Adults with at least a High School Diploma: 83.6%

Florida (9)

Florida's well-being scores dropped significantly from last year, pushing their rank down from 39th to 42nd. The state's score in the well-being category that measures the work environment were among the worst, no surprise, as it has the sixth-highest unemployment rate at 9.9%. Residents are relatively unhealthy compared to other states. Florida has the eighth-highest rates of both heart disease and diabetes. The state also has one of the highest rates of violent crime in the U.S. Life expectancy: 79.7 years

Adults with at least a High School Diploma: 85.5%

Missouri (8)

In a single year, Missouri's overall well-being score fell from 34th in the country to 43rd. Conditions in the state declined in every category. Among the standout numbers: In the "life evaluation" category, the state fell from 33rd to 48th. It has the 11th-highest rate of smokers, heart disease, cancer and diabetes rates that are all among the top 20, and a life expectancy that is the 12th lowest in the nation. Life expectancy: 77.4 years.

Adults with at least a High School Diploma: 86.9%

Arkansas (7)

In Arkansas, 18.45% of residents live below the poverty line, the third highest rate in the country. Residents' low life expectancy can be traced in part to a smoking rate that is the fourth highest rate in the country (22.9% of adults) and a cancer rate that's the sixth-highest. Arkansas also ranks among the 10 lowest rates on educational attainment, and it's in the top 10 for violent crime. Life expectancy: 76.1 years.

Adults with at least a High School Diploma: 82.9%

Alabama (6)

Alabama is one of the poorest states, with 17.4% of the population living below the poverty line, and the residents polled for the well-being index certainly feel it. The state ranked among the 20 worst in every category, and among the 10 worst for physical health, healthy behavior and work environment. That poor showing is easily explained, considering that Alabama has the third-highest rate of obesity, the seventh-highest rates of heart disease and cancer, and the highest rate of heart disease. Alabama also has the third-lowest life expectancy in the U.S. Life expectancy: 75.2 years.

Adults with at least a High School Diploma: 82.1%

Ohio (5)

Ohio ranks among the 10 least well-off states in four of the six categories measured by the Gallup Well-Being Index: life evaluation, emotional health, healthy behavior and work environment. In particular, the state scores poorly when it comes to health, with some of the highest cancer, diabetes and smoking rates in the country. Life expectancy is also relatively low, at 77.5 years. However, while median household income is fairly low, and the poverty rate is somewhat high, Ohio isn't among the country's worst in either of those categories.

Adults with at least a High School Diploma: 88.1%

Delaware (4)

Delaware's overall life satisfaction rank fell from 44th in 2010 to 47th in 2011. The biggest reason? A major decline in self-reported health. Delaware's physical health ranking fell from 27th in the country to 41st. The state is higher than median for diabetes, heart disease and obesity, and has the nation’s 11th highest cancer rate. Delaware also scored worst in the nation when it comes to work environment, a category that measures elements such as job satisfaction, the ability to use one's strengths at work, and the way supervisors treat their employees. Delaware also has the third-highest violent crime rate in the country. Life expectancy: 78.3 years.

Adults with at least a High School Diploma: 87.7%

Mississippi (3)

Mississippi is the poorest state in the nation by more than one metric: lowest median household income, highest poverty rate. It's educational attainment level is among the worst. Health is also a major issue in the state. Mississippi has the lowest life expectancy in the country -- almost four years less than the national average. It has the highest obesity rate, and ranks in the top 5 for rates of diabetes, heart disease, cancer and tobacco use. Life expectancy: 74.8 years.

Adults with at least a High School Diploma: 81.0%

Kentucky (2)

For the second year in a row, Kentucky's well-being score is the second lowest. Residents consider themselves among the worst-off in the country in life evaluation, healthy behavior and both physical and emotional health. The state is relatively poor, with the fourth-lowest median household income and the fourth-highest rate of poverty. Residents have a low level of education compared to many other states. The state also has a low life expectancy and among the highest rates of smoking, obesity and heart disease, as well as the highest rate of cancer in the country. Life expectancy: 76.2 years.

Adults with at least a High School Diploma: 81.9%

End Of Story...

Jack Swint-Publisher
West Virginia News
E-Mail: WestVirginiaNews@gmail.com
Website: http://WVNewsOnline.com
Blog: http://WestVirginiaNews.blogspot.com
Twitter: @WVNewsOnline
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