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Huntington, Charleston rank worst in well-being

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — The Huntington-Ashland and Charleston metropolitan statistical areas were the bottom-ranking regions for well-being in a newly released 2013 Gallup-Healthway report.

The survey captures residents’ perceptions of their physical and emotional health, work environment and other issues. This year’s “well-being index” for the Huntington-Ashland MSA was 59.5, actually up a little from its score of 58.1 in 2010, which remains the lowest on record for Gallup’s five reporting periods spanning six years of data collection.

For this 2013 study, Charleston had the second-lowest well being index of 60.0, and West Virginia had the lowest ranking of any state.

The highest index was for the Provo-Orem metro area in Utah, which scored 71.4, and the highest ranked state was North Dakota.

Huntington-Ashland is often near the bottom on many national surveys on health, including a 2008 report that lead to celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s visit for his Emmy-winning “Food Revolution” television series.

Huntington Mayor Steve Williams pointed out the city’s focus on wellness that includes 41 5Ks being offered in the city last year, Huntington’s Kitchen offering nutrition and cooking classes, the development of the Paul Ambrose Trail for Health (PATH), The Wild Ramp local food market, the YMCA’s Kids in Motion program — and many others, not the least of which are its active medical centers and medical school at Marshall University. Perhaps not enough people know about all the offerings and improvements, he said, adding that he plans to work on changing that.

“My first reaction was, ‘Again?’ and frustration,” he said…

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