Since the two organizations partnered up to track the status of health and well-being among Americans in 2008, this is the first time Alaska has snagged the top spot on this list, although it did appear within the top 10 from 2009 to 2011.
This year’s ranking slotted Hawaii and South Dakota in second and third place respectively, and Gallup’s report made a point to note that Hawaii and Colorado are the only two states to have ranked within the top 10 every year since 2008.
Also of significance was North Dakota’s large fall from the number one spot in 2013 all the way to 23rd this time around.
“North Dakota's drop was mostly attributable to a drop in its residents' overall life evaluation, coupled with worsened health-related behaviors such as higher smoking rates, reduced exercise and less healthy eating compared with 2013,” Gallup reporter Dan Witters wrote.
On the other end of the spectrum, the least healthy states, or the states that had the lowest Well-Being Index scores for 2014 include West Virginia, Kentucky, and Indiana. Respectively, these three states rank at 50th, 49th, and 48th.
According to Gallup the 10 states with the lowest scores for 2014 have all previously appeared on this list.
The data is based on interviews with 176,000 U.S. adults in all 50 states and was collected from January to December 2014.
“The Well-Being Index is calculated on a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 represents the lowest possible well-being and 100 represents the highest possible well-being,” Witters explained.
The metrics used to determine and measure well-being include the following five elements, which Gallup and Healthways have come to define as “the five essential elements of well-being.”
Purpose: liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
Social: having supportive relationships and love in your life
Financial: managing your economic life to reduce stress and increase security
Community: liking where you live, feeling safe, and having pride in your community
Physical: having good health and enough energy to get things done daily