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Sherry Young: In the USA, most of us live well, and leaving the USA can make us appreciative

Published: Wednesday, April 23 2014 4:20 p.m. MDT

Stacy, Madyson and Londyn Young with the happy ladies who will live in the new house they worked on during a spring break in Mexico.

Provided by Stacy Young

In case you missed the good news Provo-Orem received last month, that they ranked No. 1 in overall well-being in a recent Gallup-Healthways poll, it seems like a good idea to shout it out.

They beat out Boulder, Colo., which moved down from last year to No. 2. It was only by a tenth of a percentage point, and all of the 10 highest ranked were within one point of being the winner.

How they go about rating these things seems a mystery. I wasn’t asked about living there and couldn’t find anyone else other than Mayor John Curtis who had been consulted, but good for Provo-Orem. May it bring some more business this way, especially now that they are Google Fiber towns.

It’s always good to be No. 1 at something or other.

Actually, Gallup reports that the results come from a telephone survey. Now, I don’t know about you, but when I see an iffy caller ID, I don’t pick up my phone. Maybe people are just nicer in Provo-Orem and more willing to answer.

One comparison between the highest ranked (Provo-Orem) and the lowest ranked (Charleston, W.Va.) is that Provo-Orem had the lowest smoking rate at 7 percent and Charleston was highest at 34 percent. Personally, that alone would put Provo-Orem at No. 1 for me as I am allergic to smoke and have learned to avoid incidences of secondhand smoke if at all possible, even to the point of being rude. However, the rankings are more in-depth than that.

In the report, Dan Witters explains, “The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index score is an average of six sub-indexes, which individually examine life evaluation, emotional health, work environment, physical health, healthy behaviors, and access to basic necessities. The overall score and each of the six sub-index scores are calculated on a scale from 0 to 100, where a score of 100 represents the ideal.”

Because no city wants to be on the bottom of the poll, it influences politicians to upgrade their residents' access to well-being.

Witters says, “With about 80 percent of Americans living in urban or suburban areas, the role of cities in spearheading the well-being of the U.S. is significant. City leadership — be it government, business, faith-based, community-based, or education — plays a critical role in the success or failure of a city to embrace and sustain a culture of well-being.”

Another interesting finding is cities in the Midwest and West ranked highest and those in the South lowest. There must be something good about being here where the coyotes howl and the deer and the antelope play.

This quest for well-being is a good one, even though we Americans on the whole have great lives compared with those of people in underdeveloped countries.

Our son Tom and his wife, Stacy, took their six children to Mexico with a group of other families during their spring break from school. They built two small homes in five days near the El Faro Orphanage in the village of Francisco Murgia. Because they made it like a big campout, it was fun as well as work.

Even the 5-year-old twins, Max and Luke, pounded nails and painted while Tom sawed and Jake and Sydney hammered on the roof. Madyson and Londyn had touching experiences with the children from the orphanage. The week went quickly and they felt their time was well spent, but Stacy sent a text saying she was looking forward to the comforts of home.

Sometimes it takes leaving the USA to see what opportunities and possibilities we have access to every day. Most of us have a good life, but a poll like Gallup-Healthways can keep the powers that be on their toes and help us have access to better health.

Way to go, Provo-Orem. Keep up the good work.

Email: sasy273@gmail.com

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