MUNCIE, Indiana – Last year we wrote that Indiana needs a focused effort on improving the overall well-being of Hoosiers as measured by Gallup and other health and wellness indices. We saw no leadership from the state level as the focus of republican leadership has created a pro-business environment and continuing the corporate takeover of education. As a result, we saw very little change from Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index results, or a change from 42nd to 40th, for Indiana in 2013.
From the state level, Governor Mike Pence made several comments about how unacceptable certain health results are for Hoosiers, but has offered nothing as far as leadership is concerned.
The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index score for the nation and for each state is an average of six indexes examining life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors, and access to basic necessities.
North Dakota residents had the highest well-being in the nation in 2013. Hawaii held the top spot for the previous four years, but fell slightly last year. West Virginia and Kentucky had the two lowest well-being scores, for the fifth year in a row. If you look at the southern states, along with Ohio and Indiana, we continue to show the worst well-being in the nation.
While the same states want to say leaders focus on creating pro-business environments, the facts show corporations are locating in communities which have higher quality of life rankings, or well-being, because this is where workers want to live. Even more so for the high-tech industries of the 21st century. This is a cultural shift which Indiana is lagging the country and will end up having to compete with the southern states for farming, basic low wage manufacturing, assembly, and service related industries.
According to Gallup, “Top well-being states generally do the best job of providing growth opportunities for their resident. Providing residents with safe places to exercise reflects well-being, with elite states like Minnesota and Colorado routinely topping the nation in this regard. Top states are among the best at having workers who use their strengths, thus reaping the rewards of heightened well-being in many ways, including better physical and emotional health.”
As you read the report, the word leadership keeps jumping off the pages in describing those states who are successful, which shows Indiana and most of the southern states suffer from poor leadership.
Governor Mike Pence needs to prioritize wellness for Hoosiers, develop initiatives like Iowa’s Healthiest State Initiative, and then lead. Iowa’s program is a privately led, government-supported program designed to improve Iowa’s well-being, and has received Gov. Terry Branstad’s support since inception. This sort of advocacy for higher well-being can serve as a positive example for Pence to follow in order to improve Hoosier’s well-being in 2014.
You can view the full report here.