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2023 Nutritional Well-Being Index

Nutrition is a key element of our physical and mental well-being, which contributes to a higher quality of life. Considering this, we conducted the 2023 NutriWell Index to assess nutritional well-being across the US.

The study ranks US states by analyzing 4 core pillars



  • Healthiest eaters score
  • Prevalence of 25 most popular diets
  • Number of fast food outlets
  • Meeting nutrients intake recommendations
  • Daily veggies consumption < 1 time
Mental Health

Mental Health

  • Happiness score
  • Prevalence of depression
  • Stress levels
  • Community wellbeing index
  • Rates of loneliness
Physical Health

Physical Health

  • Adult physical inactivity prevalence
  • % of people engaged in sports activities
  • Obesity rates
  • Insufficient sleep
Social connectios

Social Connections and Lifestyle

  • Volunteerism involvement
  • Marriage/ divorce rates
  • Smoking prevalence
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Spendings on food eaten at home / elsewhere

5 Highest-Ranking States for Nutritional Well-Being

100 index Massachusetts
82.9990014 index Utah
80.4666020 index Vermont
77.9814578 index Minnesota
76.8653535 index Colorado

5 Lowest-Ranking States for Nutritional Well-Being

50 index Mississippi
52.9351587 index Oklahoma
53.105652 index Alabama
53.9915677 index Louisiana
54.8250163 index West Virginia

Nutritional well-being refers to the intricate relationship between the nutritional landscape and the overall well-being level of different US states.


Well-being, in simple words, means feeling good. For social scientists, well-being serves as a metric that reflects how people perceive their lives. Numerous studies revealed that well-being is associated with good health, longevity, healthy habits, prevention of mental and physical illnesses, and a sense of social connectedness.1,2


Nutrition is a process of getting food for health and vitality. Research reveals that nutrition significantly affects body composition, physical and mental health, life expectancy, and overall well-being.3,4 It influences an individual’s performance, labor productivity, and, therefore, the nation’s welfare.5,6

The correlation between nutrition and well-being is often the most obvious yet under-recognized factor in overall life quality evaluations. The 2023 NutriWell Index deepens our understanding of that correlation to help people make healthier choices and improve their quality of life.


The 2023 Nutritional Well-Being Index estimates how harmoniously people balance nutritional choices and holistic well-being practices in 50 US states. It includes 4 fundamental pillars: nutrition, mental health, physical health, social connections and lifestyle. These pillars consist of 20 smaller elements, which together form the score for each state.


A final ranking was calculated by evaluating the importance of each element from 1 to 5 and adding up the state subscores. Higher index scores mean a better state in terms of nutritional well-being compared to other states.



Each factor consists of one or more indicators that were scored and averaged. The equation for scoring is as follows:


The equation for scoring


For columns where a low value is better, the score is inverted such that a high score is always better:


Inverted score


Obtained z score dataset is normalized to a [0-4] scale, with 4 being the best score. Therefore, the higher the score, the better the state ranks compared to the other states.

The formula to normalize the data is min-max normalization:


The formula to normalize the data is min-max normalization


The final score was determined by calculating the sum of the state subscores:


The sum of the state subscores

Ranking State Index
1. Massachusetts 100
2. Utah 82.9990014
3. Vermont 80.4666020
4. Minnesota 77.9814578
5. Colorado 76.8653535
6. Oregon 75.6937631
7. Hawaii 75.3457260
8. Washington 74.8798673
9. Connecticut 74.4583201
10. New Jersey 74.0856119
11. New Hampshire 73.0127821
12. Maryland 72.6340926
13. Wisconsin 72.1875652
14. Idaho 71.8411588
15. California 71.3695125
16. Virginia 70.6299932
17. Arizona 70.4501227
18. Maine 70.4055790
19. Montana 70.2037013
20. South Dakota 69.4304853
21. Iowa 69.2804823
22. New York 69.1594072
23. Pennsylvania 69.0650794
24. Michigan 68.2924377
25. North Dakota 68.0014207
26. Florida 67.7288187
27. Nebraska 67.3205358
28. Kansas 67.2400171
29. Wyoming 66.6924705
30. Alaska 64.9907706
31. Illinois 64.7315678
32. Georgia 63.8762153
33. North Carolina 63.6126982
34. Rhode Island 63.4293751
35. Ohio 62.9793013
36. South Carolina 61.8448065
37. Missouri 61.5181754
38. Delaware 61.1822631
39. Nevada 59.8109216
40. Indiana 59.7756104
41. Texas 59.4481541
42. Tennessee 58.0095168
43. New Mexico 57.1170807
44. Arkansas 56.8106845
45. Kentucky 55.9548397
46. West Virginia 54.8250163
47. Louisiana 53.9915677
48. Alabama 53.1056521
49. Oklahoma 52.9351587
50. Mississippi 50

Key Takeaways

According to the research, the highest-ranking states for nutritional well-being:

Government Have the highest number of government initiatives focused on nutrition
Fast food Have a relatively low number of fast-food outlets
Online Search more for healthy eating tips online
Vine Consume less alcohol
Broccoli Have a higher prevalence of nutrient-dense diets
Cooking home Prioritize home cooking
Self-report Self-report healthier nutrition and greater happiness
Fruits Consume more fruits and veggies
Meals Prioritize shared meals and communal experiences
Local Promote environmental stability and local foods
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Nadzeya Sankovich

Looking for more info?

Contact us if you have questions or comments:

Nadzeya Sankovich

Vice President of Communications at Health Reporter

[email protected]


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  1. Adult Self-Reported Health Status, KFF analysis of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s 2013-2021 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS):
  2. America’s Health Rankings, United Heath Foundation — Fruit and Vegetable Consumption in United States (2023):
  3. America’s Health Rankings, United Heath Foundation — Volunteerism in United States (2023):
  4. America’s Health Rankings — Insufficient Sleep in United States (2023):
  5. Barclay, T. (2022, June 5). Which States and Cities Are the Healthiest? Innerbody; Innerbody Research:
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Adult Physical Inactivity Prevalence Maps by Race/Ethnicity (2022):
  7. Community Well-Being Index — Sharecare (2023):
  8. Happiest States in the U.S. By Container: Scholaroo Year: 2023
  9. Lee SH, Moore LV, Park S, Harris DM, Blanck HM. Adults Meeting Fruit and Vegetable Intake Recommendations — United States, 2019. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2022;71:1–9. DOI:
  10. Loneliest states — Aging in Place, Corey Whelan (2023):
  11. Pelkey, M. (2022, October 12). CashNetUSA Blog:
  12. Publications | National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism | Surveillance Report #115. (2018).
  13. Team, G. (2022, February 4). U.S. States With the Healthiest Eaters, According to Their Residents – Gurney’s. Gurney’s Blog:
  14. The Fast Food Capitals of America | NiceRx. (2023).
  15. The relationship between nutrition and depression in the life process: A mini-review
  16. U.S. Chain and Independent Restaurants. (2021).
  17. US Census Bureau. (2023, March 22). Household Pulse Survey Data Tables.
  18. World Population Review — Divorce Rate by State (2023):
  19. World Population Review — Most Stressed States (2023):