Sharecare and Boston University School of Public Health Launch Community Well-Being Index, Identifies Education as Key Predictor of Health and Well-Being

Sharecare and the Boston University School of Public Health (SPH) have released their next-generation Community Well-Being Index (CWBI) state rankings report, constructing 10 years of well-being measurement through the integration of key social determinants of health data. Collectively, the multi-dimensional layering and analysis Sharecare formulated for the CWBI in collaboration with SPH and its Biostatistics and Epidemiology Data Analytics Center (BEDAC) has reportedly resulted in the most expansive, diversified, and dynamic well-being index in the industry (As of August 31, 2020).

With over 3 million completed surveys since 2008, Sharecare has measured well-being through its innovative Well-Being Index (WBI), analyzing both physical and non-physical individual risk factors across the following five health domains:

  • Purpose: Liking what you do each day and being motivated to achieve your goals
  • Social: Having supportive relationships and love in your life
  • Financial: Managing your economic life to increase financial security and reduce stress
  • Community: Liking where you live, feeling safe and having pride in your community
  • Physical: Having good health and enough energy to get things done daily

In addition to the survey, and in order to significantly expand on the datasets and metrics that most health indices track, the CWBI combined Sharecare’s original index with a new Social Determinants of Health Index (SDOHi), which measures additional risk factors across five interrelated domains pertaining to one’s environment:

  • Healthcare access: Concentration of MDs, OBGYNs, and pediatric specialists per 1,000 residents
  • Food access: Presence of grocery stores within one mile of underserved populations, including Black individuals, children, and seniors
  • Resource access: Quantity of libraries and religious institutions per 10,000 residents, employment rates for people over 65, and presence of grocery stores within 20 miles
  • Housing & transportation: Home values, ratio of home value to income, and public transit use
  • Economic security: Rates of employment, labor force participation, individuals with health insurance coverage, and household income above poverty level

Finally, in order to collect a larger, more robust well-being sample versus previous years’ rankings, Sharecare and BEDAC included opt-in data from RealAge, Sharecare’s digital health risk assessment that captures well-being within the five health domains tracked by WBI, and further expands insights to include additional health behaviors, reported co-morbidities, and mortality risk.

Results

For the combined 2019 CWBI state rankings, Hawaii, a consistently top ranked state in well-being for prior years, continued to demonstrate its status as an elite state in health and well-being, taking the top spot. Meanwhile, Mississippi took last place on the CWBI based on bottom positions in three of 10 domains (financial, physical, and food access) and ranking in the bottom quintile in five additional domains (social, community, healthcare access, housing & transportation, and economic security). Further, each of the bottom five states continue the pattern of those with the worst well-being being concentrated in the South.

For the first time in WBI history, New Hampshire ranked first in well-being nationally, followed by “well-being elite states” like Hawaii, Utah, and Colorado. Oregon, which has typically fallen in a middle quintile for overall well-being, landed the fifth spot this year. On the other end of the ranking, Mississippi ranked 50th in overall well-being nationally, breaking West Virginia’s 5+ years of ranking last in our nation’s well-being. Other states falling in the bottom five for overall well-being include Alabama, Delaware, Louisiana, and Kentucky.

Education = Investment

The conditions in which we live explain in part why some Americans are healthier than others and why Americans more generally are not as healthy as they could be.

The building blocks of good health have their foundation in social and emotional skills learned during early childhood.

Based on two generations of social determinants of health indices, Sharecare found that education, historically known as “the great equalizer,” is actually creating more of a divide in the United States. In short, access to quality education is a significant factor that helps predict children’s employment and income later in life. This may also determine where they live and if they have adequate healthcare and a safe environment in which to thrive, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

While higher educational attainment can play a significant role in shaping employment opportunities, it can also increase the capacity for better decision making regarding one’s health, and provide scope for increasing social and personal resources that are vital for physical and mental health. 

About The Community Well-Being Index (CWBI)

The Community Well-Being Index (CWBI) is a collaboration between Sharecare and the Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) to inform, empower, and unite stakeholders across the healthcare continuum in a collective movement to improve our nation’s well-being. Evolving more than 10 years of well-being measurement, the CWBI combines individual risk derived from Sharecare’s Well-Being Index (WBI) with community risk from the Social Determinants Health Index (SDOHi) to create a single composite measure that defines our collective health risk and opportunity. Anchored in BUSPH’s Biostatistics and Epidemiology Data Analytics Center (BEDAC), the multi-dimensional layering and analysis formulated for the CWBI has resulted in the most expansive, diversified, and dynamic well-being index in the industry. To access the latest CWBI reports and research, visit wellbeingindex.sharecare.com.

About the Boston University School of Public Health

Founded in 1976, the Boston University School of Public Health is one of the top five ranked private schools of public health in the world. It offers master’s- and doctoral-level education in public health. The faculty in six departments conduct policy-changing public health research around the world, with the mission of improving the health of populations–especially the disadvantaged, underserved, and vulnerable—locally and globally.

About Sharecare

Sharecare is the leading digital health company that helps people – no matter where they are in their health journey – dynamically and efficiently manage all their health in one place. Our comprehensive and data-driven virtual heath platform uniquely integrates the messaging, motivation, management and measurement that drives behavior change and makes high-quality care more accessible and affordable for everyone. Designed to help people, providers, employers, health plans, government organizations, and communities alike optimize individual and population-wide well-being, we deliver a comprehensive suite of virtual care and wellness solutions through a unified and scalable platform. From medication adherence to managing a chronic condition such as diabetes to developing better eating habits, improving sleep, and reducing stress, we are committed to supporting each individual through the lens of their personal health and connecting them to the right tools, programs, benefits, and medical professionals at the right time. To learn more, visit www.sharecare.com.

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