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Fort Worth’s well-being rank jumps among U.S. metro areas

Posted May 3, 2019

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a group of women walking across a bridge
Many residents stay healthy by participating in a walking moai — groups of five to eight people who walk together at least once a week.

Well-being continues to climb in Fort Worth, with new research placing the city in the top 20 percent of the country’s metropolitan areas. According to the Gallup National Health and Well-Being Index, Fort Worth’s 2019 equivalent rank for residents’ well-being ties for 31st out of 156 communities nationwide.

The city’s latest equivalent ranking is based on a new comparison of updated metropolitan statistical area (MSA) data and is a notable increase over past performance in the survey. In 2013, Fort Worth’s equivalent rank was 185th out of 190 reported metro areas. Four years later, the city’s equivalent rank increased to 58th out of 186 MSAs surveyed. The latest Gallup survey places Fort Worth on par with the Austin/Round Rock area.

“This is an amazing transformation in just a few years, and it happened because our community is committed to prioritizing health and wellness,” said Mayor Betsy Price. “Working together, we have helped make Fort Worth an even more attractive place for businesses to relocate and for individuals and families to live, work and play. I am confident Fort Worth will continue to be one of the healthiest cities in the country.”

Fort Worth has seen dramatic improvement in career, social, financial, community and physical health — the five essential areas of well-being measured by the Well-Being Index (WBI). While much of the nation continues to see a decline in well-being, Fort Worth’s overall WBI score rose from 58.8 in 2014 to 62.5 in 2018. Between 2014 and 2018, the national WBI score dropped from 61.6 to 61.2, after hitting 62.1 in 2016.

“Fort Worth’s latest jump in well-being, as the U.S. continues to decline, securely establishes it as a best practice example of what a community can accomplish when it sustains a focused commitment to well-being,” said Dan Witters, principal at Gallup. “The work of Blue Zones Project in Fort Worth is likely playing an important role in the improving well-being culture and associated outcomes of the community.”

Blue Zones Project is a community-led well-being improvement initiative that works to shape the environment and daily routines to mirror lifestyles of the world’s healthiest people. The effort launched in 2014, coinciding with the well-being improvements measured in the WBI survey. Fort Worth became certified as a Blue Zones Community in November 2018 by engaging individuals, worksites, schools, grocery stores, restaurants, faith-based organizations and other groups in a commitment to healthier practices.

As the primary sponsor of Blue Zones Project, Fort Worth, Texas Health Resources funded the initiative under the umbrella of its community outreach nonprofit, North Texas Healthy Communities (NTHC). Those efforts are continuing as NTHC looks for additional ways to impact community health.

“Blue Zones Project has had a dramatic impact on well-being in this community, and this ranking reflects that change,” said Barclay Berdan, CEO of Texas Health. “While we are proud of what we’ve accomplished together, Texas Health recognizes that there are still areas of great need and more work to be done. We will continue to look for ways to go beyond the walls of our hospitals to make an impact on the lives of the people we serve, through a continued commitment to Blue Zones Project and other innovative programs that address the real needs of our community.”

With partners throughout Fort Worth, Blue Zones Project helped create more walkable routes to schools, organized community groups in efforts to provide fellowship and encourage healthy behaviors, supported the development of a park and playground in one of the city’s more underprivileged neighborhoods, tweaked grocery store layouts to prominently feature healthy snacks and drinks, worked with area businesses to enhance employee health, and helped the city create new policies that promote well-being, among other efforts. Fort Worth’s Blue Zones Community status reflects citywide changes that consistently make healthy choices easier.

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