HealthDay News — Twelve county-level factors, including social and economic, clinical care, and physical environment, explain the majority of variation in resident well-being in the United States, according to a study published online May 23 in PLOS ONE.

Brita Roy, M.D., M.P.H., from Yale University in New Haven, Conn., and colleagues assessed county attributes independently associated with a comprehensive, 36 multi-dimensional assessment of individual well-being based on data from the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index (338,846 survey participants, randomly sampled from 3,118 U.S. counties).

The researchers identified 12 county-level factors that were independently associated with individual well-being scores. These 12 factors explained 91 percent of the total variance in individual well-being scores, and can be characterized as representing four distinct categories: demographic (percent black); social and economic (child poverty, education level [less than high school, high school diploma/equivalent, college degree], household income, percent divorced); clinical care (percent eligible women obtaining mammography, preventable hospital stays per 100,000, number of federally qualified health centers); and physical environment (percent commuting by bicycle and by public transit).

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“To improve the well-being of a community, you need to work across multiple sectors and fields, to include the economy and health care and urban planning and transportation,” Roy said in a statement. “Working across different groups, in coalitions, has the greatest potential to improve health and quality of life.”

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