New well-being report shows DFW Metroplex lags behind U.S., much of Texas in healthy behaviors

Mar 21, 2013, 10:00 ET from Texas Health Resources

Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index ranks North Texas No. 3 for overall well-being, sixth in healthy behaviors among nine metro areas in Texas

ARLINGTON, Texas, March 21, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As students across Texas get back into the swing of school after spring break, the report card is already in for well-being in North Texas — and the Metroplex has lots of room for improvement, experts at Texas Health Resources say.


The 2012 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index report ranks the Dallas-Arlington-Fort Worth area 61st in overall well-being out of 189 major metropolitan areas across the country. Texas ranked 27th out of 50 states in overall well-being, ahead of neighbors Louisiana, Arkansas and Oklahoma but behind states such as New Mexico, Colorado and Kansas.

Among nine major metropolitan areas in Texas, Dallas-Arlington-Fort Worth ranked third in overall well-being, behind Austin and El Paso and ahead of Houston and San Antonio, according to the report.

"What's important is to look at these numbers and begin the dialogue about how we become healthier, not just in terms of lack of disease, but in improving our physical, mental and social well-being," said Dr. Daniel Varga, chief clinical officer of Texas Health Resources. "We believe that people with higher well-being aren't simply healthier. They contribute more to their communities, and they're more productive at work. They also have lower health care costs."

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index report is based on data compiled from more than 350,000 phone surveys annually. A thousand daily calls were made seven days a week throughout the year to adults around the country.

Based on how people responded, communities were given an overall well-being composite score and a score for each of the six pillars of well-being: life evaluation (how people feel about their current situation and what they expect life to look like in five years); emotional health; physical health; healthy behaviors; work environment; and basic access (to essentials like clean water, money for food, access to a physician and adequate health insurance).

While 27th overall, Texas ranked 10th in life evaluation and 18th in work environment. But the Lone Star State got far-from-top grades in the other three pillars of well-being, ranking 29th in emotional health, 33rd in healthy behaviors and 45th for basic access.

Among the nine major Texas metropolitan areas analyzed by the report, the Dallas-Arlington-Fort Worth area was tops in emotional health and work environment.

But in life evaluation, Dallas-Arlington-Fort Worth ranked 43rd nationally and fourth in Texas, behind El Paso, Austin and Houston. The Metroplex also scored poorly in healthy behaviors (lifestyle habits such as eating well, exercising and stress management), ranking 143rd nationally and sixth in Texas, behind Austin, San Antonio, El Paso, the McAllen area and Houston.

"These elements of well-being are important because they impact all aspects of our lives," said Dr. Janna Massar, an internist on the medical staff at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano. "They impact how we interact with our families and friends, how we perform at work and how healthy we are physically."

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index found that the higher a state scored on overall well-being score, the lower its obesity rate. Residents of states with high overall well-being grades also tended to smoke less and exercise more. Those people also had lower blood pressure and were less likely to have diabetes or suffer heart attacks.

Texas Health has partnered with Healthways in a ten-year commitment to provide the tools necessary for doctors, hospitals and residents of North Texas to measurably improve their health and well-being.

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SOURCE Texas Health Resources