Delaware advanced 21 slots on the national Gallup Healthways Well-being Index from ranking 47 in 2011 to 26 in 2012. The state rankings are based upon the 1,000 phone interviews in which respondents were asked about their emotional and physical health, work environment, healthy behavior, life evaluation, and access to basic needs like food, shelter, healthcare, and a safe and satisfying place to live.
"This positive ranking reflects the progress we are making through the collaboration of our public, private and non-profit partners across the state," Gov. Jack Markell said. "The state is supporting many efforts to help people manage their health. This includes building a community-based mental health system, creating more walking and biking trails, and tobacco-free state-owned buildings and campuses. While we are each responsible for our own healthy behaviors, the state is working to support people in making healthy choices."
"This improved ranking is so heartening to see," said Rita Landgraf, Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services. "Feeling better about yourself -- physically, mentally and emotionally -- is one of the keys to wellness and good health. So many partners across the state are working with us to improve everything from our mental health system to cancer rates, from obesity rates to chronic disease rates. While we have made progress -- and this ranking confirms that-- there are still many more challenges ahead. With our partners, our goal is to create a culture of health and wellness among all Delawareans."
Many states' rankings remained consistent with previous years but Delaware was among a few states with a significant change. According to the data from the report, Delaware's rankings advanced so dramatically because citizens reported improvements across all measures, with particularly big improvements in life evaluation and emotional health. There were also encouraging increases in physical health, healthy behaviors, work environment, and basic access to food, shelter and health care.
"At Public Health it is particularly exciting to see the jump in people reporting better physical health and better health behaviors, "said Dr. Karyl Rattay, Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) Director. "Ninety percent of the factors that impact people's health are outside their actual health care. That people are reporting better health and appear to be making better health choices is a goal at DPH and a development we are committed to sustaining over time."
The physical health measure is determined by asking respondents about their body mass index, disease burden, sick days, physical pain, daily energy, history of disease and daily health experiences. The healthy behaviors measure is lifestyle habits with established relationships to health outcomes.
For further information on how each measured was determined or for more Delaware data: