CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- OK, here's another poll that puts West Virginia at the bottom of the list.
This time it's the Gallup-Healthways Well Being Index, and it's being touted as the "happiest state" poll. West Virginia ranks dead last -- for the third year in a row!
I may be biased, but I beg to differ. While Hawaii ranked at the top ("Duh ... winning," as Charlie Sheen would say), I don't understand what other top contenders like South Dakota, Wyoming and Nebraska have over us.
So I took a closer look at the criteria used in the poll:
First of all, the category "access to health insurance" puts a lot of states in the same boat -- with the uncertain implications of the continuing health-care debate on the national level.
You might say the same thing about access to health care on a policy basis, although that category also could take into consideration the rural nature of our state -- and the fact that residents often have to travel greater distances to health-care facilities.
OK, I'll admit we have a way to go in some of these categories. Our state is among the highest for rates of diabetes and obesity. That certainly factors into the ranking for physical health, and could carry over into the category of health behaviors. I'll grant them that.
And, while we may not have the variety of fruits and vegetables found in some other locales, my take is that our access is plentiful. Another case in point for my view of the "apples and oranges" approach taken by this poll, and the descriptors they've come up with to measure happiness and well-being.