Employers--and that includes states and localities--have been focusing on wellness and prevention as a means of keeping their employees healthy and thereby less costly to insure. But lots of health factors are beyond an employer's control. The economy, it turns out, is one of them. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being index has been charting the link between how Americans feel--their physical health and emotional well being--and the state of the economy. There is evidence, researchers for the pollster say, that the recent recession may have a lasting, negative impact on the nation's health.

The poll not only takes a national look but also breaks down its findings regionally, by state and by Congressional district. (See the results at well-beingindex.com.) In West Virginia and Ohio, where job losses have been high and the economy is particularly weak, people report they are feeling a lot worse than those in Utah and Wyoming, where the economy is stronger.