Evaluating Wellness

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How happy are you today?  How is your well-being?  Will it be better, say, over the weekend?

The Gallup polling experts conduct a daily wellness survey nationwide.  And it turns out, parts of Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania don't rank very high.

"I love the weather.  Good place to live in."

"Just living (makes me happy).  Great place to live."

"We love it here.  Look at the beautiful trees."

We were happy to speak with happy people in Factoryville, in Wyoming County, who, for the most part, they had no serious complaints.

Wyoming County is the northern-most section of Pennsylvania's 11th Congressional District, one of 435 in the United States.  But according to the Gallup Healthways Well-Being Index, a daily poll taken nationwide, this general region of Pennsylvania isn't all that thrilled with life.  It ranks 380th out of 435.

"They're not happy with their health, their jobs, the weather, the environment," said Dr. James McKenna, a family physician at the Geisinger Lake Scranton facility.  He explained the index tracks six main areas of wellness, including emotional health, physical health, work satisfaction, and basic access to food, shelter, and healthcare.

Dr. McKenna says the nation's mood is fickle.
"When the economy tanked in 2008, everybody's wellness plummeted.  When Bush bailed out the banks, overall well-being was bad.  People felt terrible," he said.

People who were willing to talk with us in Plymouth, Luzerne County didn't seem unhappy, although a few mentioned traffic as a major annoyance these days.

"Just waking up everyday is good.  My kids, you know?  I'm happy," one man told us.

Dr. McKenna thinks the area's negativity stems mainly from high unemployment and a lack of both mental and preventative healthcare.

"I had a situation where a patient needed to get a colonoscopy a few months ago.  Didn't have insurance, put it off, finally went ahead and did it, and found metastatic colon cancer.  It could have been avoided," he noted.

Only one person admitted to us that the poll seems accurate.  A woman from Hazleton says crime is high, and even on days with beautiful weather, there's nothing to do.

"Because it's such a negative area, people choose to leave to be happy.  It's just a negative town," she said.

In addition to districts, the Gallup Healthways Poll also breaks its findings down to states.  Numbers one and two are consistent, Hawaii and Colorado respectively, states where Dr. McKenna points out the weather is great and people are active outside.  The latest numbers rank Pennsylvania at 29th.