Delaware jumps 21 slots in Nat’l wellbeing index
Published: Monday, March 11, 2013
Updated: Monday, April 22, 2013 21:04
The state of Delaware leaped 21 slots in the National Gallup Healthways Wellbeing Index, advancing from 47 to 26 in the national ranking for overall wellbeing. The index measures emotional and physical health, healthy behaviors, access to care and work environment.
The state rankings were determined by data collected from 1,000 phone interviews in which citizens were asked about their health, work environment, habits and access to basic needs such as food, shelter and healthcare, according to a press release from the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services.
According to the National Gallup Healthways Wellbeing Index, Delaware also advanced from 41 to 18 for life evaluation, from 40 to 18 for emotional health, from 41 to 32 for physical health, from 35 to 29 for healthy behavior, from 50 to 37 for work environment and from 30 to 22 for basic access.
Delaware Division of Public Health Director Karyl Rattay said her division is committed to sustaining the change over time. State organizations collaborated to improve the ranking, she said.
“We partner to find solutions,” Rattay said. “In a time with such economic constraints resources are limited, and we have to work together to create change at a state level.”
According to the press release, many other states remained more or less consistent with previous rankings.
Governor Jack Markell stated in the press release that the progress was made through the collaboration of public, private and non-profit agencies in the state.
“This includes building a community-based mental health system, creating more walking and biking trails and tobacco-free state-owned buildings and campuses,” Markell said.
Markell said while each person is responsible for personal healthy behaviors, the state is working to support people in making those choices.
Director of the Nurse Managed Health Center and professor Allen Prettyman said the state’s small size and population has allowed for effective interdisciplinary communication and the development of an inclusive health community.
“It allows for better coordination of care between research entities, health services, and government organizations,” Prettyman said.
Prettyman said he hopes students and residents continue to be proactive about health as prevention and awareness are the best tools for good health.
Healthy HENS Program Coordinator Michelle Scott said she hopes students use the university’s health programs to in order to stay well and help avoid preventable health issues.
“As a health promotion nurse, I can say that teaching a patient preventive health is so much easier than trying to get a patient with multiple health problems better, or stopping something from getting damaged than to fix what is already broken,” Scott said.
Learning to effectively navigate the health care system is one of the most important things to take control of personal health, Prettyman said.
Rattay said more systematic changes will be made and the Governor’s Council will work so that next year Delaware continues to rise on the Wellbeing Index.
“We still have a lot of work to do,” Rattay said. “Hopefully Delawareans will continue to see changes and feel healthier.”