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Missouri Trails Nation In Overall Well-Being


Missouri ranks among the bottom third of states when it comes to its overall well-being. Meanwhile, the Kansas City region has room for improvement. That’s according to the latest data from the polling group, Gallup.

The research has caught the attention of nearly 200 area business, civic and health care leaders, who are convening Thursday for a day-long conference aimed at addressing these challenges.

The Gallup-Healthways survey asked hundreds of thousands of people across the U.S. about their physical and emotional health, how they view their lives and whether they have access to basic necessities. Missouri ranked 38 among states in 2012; Kansas ranked 17.

Dan Witters, a lead researcher with Gallup-Healthways, said of the nearly 190 cities measured through the surveys, Kansas City did pretty well, ranking in the top half. The region fell short, however, in one particular sub-category.

“We have something called the healthy behaviors index where kc is only ranked 136th in the nation out of 189,” Witters said. “You’ve got 21 percent that are smokers. You’ve got 38 percent of Kansas Citians who don’t think that they ate healthy yesterday. You’ve got close to half that aren’t exercising 30 minutes at least three days in the last week.”

Witters said any attempt change this, can’t just come from public health agencies or city leaders. Employers have to have skin in it, too.

Witters, the governor of Iowa and several dozen local organizations are meeting at Cerner Thursday in hopes of developing ways to improve the region’s overall well-being. The Mid America Coalition on Health Care is spearheading the event.


Listen to an extended conversation between KCUR's Elana Gordon and Gallup-Healthways' Dan Witters about well-being in Missouri and across the country:

Dan witters raw web interview.mp3


This story is part of a reporting partnership that includes KCUR, NPR and Kaiser Health News.


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