A Third of Americans "Ailing"

The Gallup poll people conduct a telephone survey called the Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index. It is the first and largest survey of its kind, with 1,000 calls a day, seven days a week. It is the official statistic for Well-Being in America and provides a daily measure of well-being. The survey questions are based on the World Health Organization’s definition of health as not only the absence of infirmity and disease but also a state of physical, mental and social well-being.

The Well-Being Index national average for 2008 was 65.5, with each point representing approximately 2.2 million people. In terms of the total population in the United States, 144 million people aged 18 and older reported that they felt well. In state rankings for 2008, well-being was highest in Utah, Hawaii, and Wyoming and lowest in West Virginia, Kentucky, and Mississippi.

Each day, the Gallup people post the daily Gallup-Healthways health measure which shows how many Americans reported feeling energized and those who are ailing. Ailing Americans are those who, reflecting on the day before they were surveyed, said they experienced physical pain, a headache, a cold, or the flu. Energized Americans are those who, reflecting on the day before being surveyed, say they were well-rested, had energy, and experienced none of the above ailments.

Since January 2008, about a third of Americans have consistently reported that they were ailing while about half reported feeling well and energized. As the population of older Americans increases, it will be interesting to see if these findings remain consistent over time or if the number of ailing Americans trends upward. To view the daily Gallup poll results of well-being in the US, go to www.gallup.com/poll/110128/Gallup-Daily-Health.aspx.