Author: Lindsay Clarke
Date: May 2nd, 2008
Earlier this week, Gallup and Healthways released the first data from their collaborative Well-Being Index—a Dow Jones type measure of the daily health and well-being of American adults. Polling 1,000 Americans every day for the next 25 years, the Index will be the largest data collection ever assembled on the health and well-being of large populations.
Asking both objective and subjective questions, the Index gets at a very holistic measure of health—including physical, mental, and social well-being. It provides a “daily pulse” of health that can be analyzed based on geography, occupation, income, and other demographics. The goal is for the data to inform the health-care debate and allow for the tracking of trends, evaluation of health promotion efforts, and a better understanding of how health and well-being impact corporations and communities financially.
The first set of data from the index was released on April 29th and included 100,000 interviews. Already there are some really interesting findings:
- When asked to evaluate their life, 47 percent said they are struggling and four percent said they are suffering. Not surprisingly, the 49 percent who say they are thriving are more likely to have higher incomes and education, and less illness.
- Two-thirds of workers report one or more chronic diseases or conditions.
- Workers with one-three diseases said they were unable to carry out their usual activities on 13.5 days each year—that number rises to 52.7 for workers with four or more diseases.
Top-line data will continue to be released to the public and respondent-level data will be available for a subscription fee. While most of the data analysis so far has been focused on full-time workers in the 18-64 age range, hopefully in time researchers will use the dataset to do more analysis of 65+ Americans. I look forward to seeing more—this is definitely going to be an incredible resource!