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Well-being wanting in Scranton, Middletown

By Fritz Mayer
April 9, 2014

REGION — How do you feel about your life? The folks who compiled the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, asked thousands of people questions about their lives, and for the sixth year running released the results of their survey to the public.

The index, which is co-produced by Gallup and Healthways, does not drill down to the county level, but it does rank states. The results for the 2013 survey were released in March, and New York came in at 35, while Pennsylvania came in at 36.

The survey also measured the well-being of 189 communities, and the major communities in our area were found pretty far down on the list. The Poughkeepsie-Newburg-Middletown region came in at 160 while Scranton-Wilkes-Barre came in at 177.

Does it really matter? Ben R. Leedle Jr., the CEO and president of Healthways, and Jim Clifton, the chairman and CEO of Gallup, believe it does. In a letter to government and business leaders that accompanied the survey, they wrote, “Many of you are looking at incomplete metrics, and you’re missing out on a huge opportunity—one that will improve your population’s health, increase productivity, better the community, and lower costs.

“We’re proposing that you measure well-being. Simply put, well-being is a metric that you can no longer afford to ignore in your population. It’s predictive, it’s actionable, and it correlates with the metrics that matter most to your business—productivity, performance, and cost.

“For an individual, high well-being means a life well-lived—all the things that are important to each of us, what we think about, and how we experience our lives. In the aggregate, high well-being means healthier populations, more productive and profitable businesses, and more economically vibrant communities. It means that wherever you may lead—a business, a healthcare organization, a community, a state, or a nation—having this metric on your dashboard will give you the information you need to make the right decisions with confidence.”