The holidays sabotage healthy behaviors for many Americans.
- Exercise decreases – except for the hand to mouth motion
- Fruits and vegetables go missing – unless you count pies
The November report of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index revealed the lowest Healthy Behavior score (62.6 percent) since 2008′s low of 61.4 percent. Not so coincidentally, the previous low also occurred in November.
The Well-Being Index
In 2008, Gallup and Healthways, Inc. collaborated on the development of the Well-Being Index.
The index measures the total health of survey participants, including the following.
- Physical health
- Emotional health
- Social health
At least 1,000 people participate in the survey and answer 56 questions about their health and well-being. Gallup-Healthways publishes the reports monthly at www.well-beingindex.com.
There are six categories to the survey.
- Life Evaluation – a self-evaluation of present life situation (thriving, struggling or suffering) compared to what the respondent anticipates his or her life situation will be in 5 years
- Emotional Health - measures daily experiences, such as smiling, laughing, stress, anger, depression and other responses
- Physical Health = covers several health issues from the common cold and flu to the number of sick days the respondent had in the last month
- Healthy Behavior - examines lifestyle habits, such as smoking, healthy eating and exercise
- Work Environment - measures the respondents’ perception of the work environment, including job satisfaction and an evaluation of the treatment by supervisors
- Basic Access - assesses respondents’ access to items, such as healthy foods, healthy environment, access to healthcare providers, and money for necessities like food and shelter
The November 2011 report included the following additional findings.
- Life evaluation improved to 47.7 percent from October’s 46.8 percent
- Emotional health was up .5 percent to 79.0 percent
- Physical health improved .7 percent to 76.6 percent
- Work environment (like Healthy behavior) showed a decrease – it was down 1.7 percent to a total of 47.2 percent
- Basic access remained high at 81.7 percent (up from October’s 81.2)
Not surprisingly, the report also showed an increase in colds (8.4 percent) and flu (2.6 percent).
New Year’s Resolutions
Undoubtedly, more than a few Americans put losing weight and exercising on their New Year’s Resolutions list.
That might be easier to control than your supervisor.
Here’s a (non-alcoholic) toast to a happy and healthy 2012. May your Well-Being Index soar to positive heights.
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Notice of Disclaimer –Cathy Miller is not a healthcare provider and cannot provide medical advice. The information provided is for your general background only, and is not intended to constitute medical advice as to your specific circumstances. We recommend you review health issues with your physician.