A recent Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index community study shows a citywide gain of more than four points in Marion’s overall Well-Being Index score and improvements in the five elements of well-being.

The study was conducted in the fall of 2016 as part of the city’s efforts surrounding Blue Zones Project, a community-led well-being improvement initiative that focuses on changing the environment to make healthy choices easier. The Well-Being Index is a scientific survey instrument that measures, tracks, and reports on the wellbeing of individuals and organizations. Gallup conducted the survey during a four-week period beginning Sept. 23, 2016, nearly two years after Blue Zones Project officially kicked off in Marion.

The city’s overall Well-Being Index score rose 4.4 points, or 7 percent, from 61.8 in 2014 to 66.2 in 2016. The city’s overall well-being score of 66.2 is well above national and state levels. The city also saw improvement in each of the five elements of well-being: purpose, social, financial, community and physical well-being. Obesity is down 19 points, a drop of nearly 55 percent since 2014. Obesity now sits at just 16 percent, well under national and state levels. Smoking levels dropped 1 point, sitting now at just 8.6 percent of residents, and also under the national average of 18 percent in 2016.

“We are encouraged by our Well-Being Index community study results, which show movement toward increased well-being among residents across the city,” Sara Mentzer, coordinator of Blue Zones Project in Marion, stated in a press release. “We know there is more work to be done, and thanks to a strong network of community partners working toward the same goal, we believe we will continue to make strides in our efforts to improve the health of this community.”

In addition to the community impact metrics, the Well-Being Index also measures the percentage of the population that is thriving in the five key elements of well-being. According to the Well-Being Index, Marion residents report an increase in thriving across all well-being elements, with the highest gains in financial and community well-being.
Since Blue Zones Project, Marion kicked off in January 2014, nearly 8,000 individuals have taken the Blue Zones Personal Pledge for better well-being. Marion counts 37 Blue Zones Project Approved worksites, 11 restaurants, three grocery stores and 10 schools.

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