Turns out all that surf and sun are good for us after all. Hawaii ranks No. 1 for the fourth year in a row as the state where residents report the best sense of overall well-being, according to the annual Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index, released Wednesday.
The poll that surveys the physical, mental and emotional health of Americans found that Hawaii even increased their well-being score from last year (to 71.1 in 2012, from 70.2 in 2011, out of 100).
Colorado, Minnesota, Utah and Vermont rounded out the top five states with the highest wellbeing scores last year.
People in those states are thinner, smoke less, exercise more and tend to have fewer medical problems.
Also for the fourth year in a row, West Virginia has the lowest overall wellbeing (with an index score of 61.3 in 2012, even lower than the 62.3 in 2011). Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee and Arkansas also had among the five lowest well-being scores in the country.
Hawaii residents earned the highest scores in the nation on the life evaluation, emotional health and work environment indexes, whereas Colorado residents scored the highest on the physical health index, partially a result of having the lowest percentage of obese residents in the country.
Hawaiians were most likely to experience daily enjoyment and least likely to have daily worry or stress, which contributed to their high emotional health, the survey notes.
Work also played a big factor in personal well-being. Hawaii workers reported having the most positive work environments in the nation, while Rhode Island employees reported having the most negative work environments. The work environment index measures workplace issues such as whether a worker has a trusting and open work environment and whether an employee is able to use his or her strengths to do what he or she does best every day.