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Beach Cities Residents Report Dramatic Increases In Well-Being, Far Outpacing Improvement In California And Nation

Today Gallup, a leading international polling agency, and Healthways, Inc. (NASDAQ: HWAY), a global leader in well-being improvement, announced the latest findings from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index (WBI), which show substantial improvements in the well-being of residents in the Beach Cities region of Southern California (Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach). The considerable uptick in well-being, which far outpaces improvements measured in California and nationwide, coincides with the efforts of the Blue Zones Project -- an innovative, community well-being improvement initiative that launched in the Beach Cities region in December 2010 and is a joint effort between Healthways, Beach Cities Health District and Blue Zones®.

The initial baseline WBI survey of Beach Cities residents was conducted in October 2010, measuring six areas of physical, emotional and social health. During the fall of 2012, the WBI survey was again administered to a population-representative sample of more than 1,200 Beach Cities residents. The latest findings, which have a margin of error of +/- 2.1-3.5 percent, reveal the following:

  • Since 2010, residents of the Beach Cities have seen their well-being climb three points for an overall composite well-being score of 76.4. Research demonstrates that each point in well-being improvement equates to a statistically significant percent decrease in the likelihood of hospital admission and ER visits and in the likelihood of incurring healthcare costs 1;
  • Obesity: Physical health has improved considerably in the Beach Cities, with a 14 percent reduction in obesity, or an estimated 1,645 fewer adults than in 2010 who are obese, which equates to a $2.35 million savings on healthcare-related costs for Beach Cities businesses, insurers and residents 2;
  • Smoking: Smoking rates among Beach Cities residents dropped by 3,484 or more than 30 percent, as just 7 percent of Beach Cities residents indicated they smoke, compared to 10.6 percent in 2010 (and compared to 16 percent statewide and 21 percent nationally). This improvement equates to a $6.97 million savings in healthcare-related costs since 2010 3;
  • Exercise: The number of residents who reported engaging in exercise at least 30 minutes, three times per week, climbed by more than 10 percent since 2010; and
  • Healthy eating: Nearly 10 percent more residents report healthier eating habits than in 2010, eating five or more servings of fruits and vegetables, on four or more days in the past week.

“The positive well-being trend in the Beach Cities is both authentic and impressive. The rate at which the community has improved since 2010 far surpasses what has been measured in the large majority of other communities nationwide,” said Dan Witters, Principal at Gallup. “Given the timing of this progress, we believe the Blue Zones Project has been a strong driver of the Beach Cities success.”

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