Gallup polls Americans on health, happiness, and thankfulness this holiday season

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    NewsWorks Tonight host Dave Heller sits down for his weekly conversation with Gallup’s Frank Newport to talk about trends in American opinion.

    Now that Thanksgiving is one day behind us, it’s a good time to look at our weight — since many of us most certainly overdid it on the turkey and pumpkin pie Thursday. First off, what percent of Americans are willing to admit that they are overweight?

    A key question is, what percent of men and women are actively trying to lose weight, by their own admission? It’s 24 percent of adults (higher among women and lower among men). That’s very interesting because 37 percent of us say that we are at least somewhat overweight, and 60 percent of us are at least a few pounds over our ideal weight.

    Well over eight out of ten of us are satisfied with the way things are going in our personal lives — that contrasts with a much lower 27 percent who are satisfied with the way things are going out there in the U.S.

    And another way of looking at this is to examine our overall well-being in the U.S. this Thanksgiving season.

    Unfortunately, Pennsylvania and New Jersey are well below average among all the states, ranking 34th and 35th in well-being; Delaware is 38th. The place to be for well-being is out West — Alaska, Hawaii, South Dakota, Wyoming and Montana have the highest well-being scores. The Midwest and South are the worst places to be — with West Virginia and Kentucky bringing up the rear.

    Turning to health issues, we have a new update on Americans’ views of the most urgent health problem facing the nation. It used to be cancer and AIDS. Now it is no disease at all … but cost and access to health care.

    Heart attack victims laying off the bad stuff? Not exactly. Americans who have had a heart attack — about 4 percent of the adult population — are not exactly conforming to the advice their doctors give them.

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