Rhode Islanders least healthy New Englanders

Oct 9, 2012

A new poll from Gallup Healthways came out today showing physicians are generally healthier, or at least engage in healthier behaviors, than nurses and other health care workers. To wit: 15% of nurses smoke, whereas only 4% of physicians do. (The Rhode Island College of Nursing has just banned smoking on campus AND by any of its students in uniform, while “representing” the school, the dean told me the other day. It’s a good start.)

But while I was exploring that Healthways news, I came across something else.

Ever heard of the Gallup Well-Being Index? It got started in 2008, so I’m admittedly a bit late to the game. But for those who haven’t heard of it, this is Gallup’s daily pulse-taking of the health of Americans. What they’ve learned so far: Rhode Islanders are the unhealthiest, overall, of all New Englanders.

Gallup calls up at least 1000 people every day on the phone, seven days a week, 350 days a year, and asks them a bunch of questions about their emotional and physical health, satisfaction at work, healthy behaviors (or lack there of), access to basic services like clean water, insurance coverage, and more. Sure, it’s just a snap shot. But the result of doing this for several years is this great wealth of data about American’s health. And, you can drill down by state, city, and congressional district.

Rhode Island comes out in the 4th quartile, nationally. Why? Our emotional health: not so good. Satisfaction at work? Not so much. There are some other factors – I invite you to check out the data.