How would you answer the question "Did you eat healthy all day yesterday?"

For 63 percent of U.S. adults who were asked, the answer was "yes," according to the 2016 Community Rankings for Healthy Eating report, based a poll on healthy eating conducted by Gallup and Shareware.

The report ranks 189 communities based on how they answered the question about what they ate the previous day. There's a wide range of results between the communities. Naples-Immokalee-Marco Island, Florida, came out on top with 75.3 percent of the respondents saying they did eat healthy the entire previous day. Not surprisingly, many of the other top communities are in California.The community that ranked lowest was Lubbock, Texas, where only 53.8 percent of respondents said they had eaten healthy all day. Here's how the top and bottom communities ranked:

health eating community rankings How the top-and bottom-ranking communities stacked up. (Photo: 2016 Community Rankings for Healthy Eating report)

The report also looks at how eating affects health by looking at the relationship between healthy eating and several chronic diseases. Those who said they ate healthy the previous day had a "lower disease burden" for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attack, depression and stress than those who ate less healthy.

For instance, 24.8 percent of those who said they ate a healthy diet the previous day also said they were obese. Of those who said they didn't eat healthy, 32.8 percent said they were obese.

The report also looked at how well-being influences healthy eating. Social well-being situations like having someone who encourages you to be healthy or doing something interesting every day were considered. Those who agreed that they had situations in their lives that promoted well being were more likely to report that they ate healthy all day the previous day than those who didn't have those influences.

The report suggests that communities can encourage healthy eating by "taking an active approach to population health by implementing food policies that foster healthy eating." Those policies include the following:

  • Improved access to healthy foods.
  • Reduced access to, and marketing of, unhealthy fast food.
  • Creating councils that enact policies for nutrition standards in government facilities and schools.
  • Educating citizens on healthy eating.

It's no surprise that having a healthy diet is associated with better health and better well-being. The report didn't go into whether or not "healthy eating" was defined before respondents answered the question. We don't know whether they were told healthy eating included a certain number of fruits and vegetables or keeping calories down to a certain amount or some other criteria. It seems, though, that those who are making a conscious effort to eat healthy food in some manner are seeing positive results and healthy eating is making a difference in both their health and their well-being.

If you want to learn more and see the full rankings, you can download this and other well-being reports, but you'll need to provide your email to get it.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Which places eat the healthiest?
When asked if they ate healthy all day the previous day in this Gallup poll, the majority of U.S. adults said "yes." That habit seems to make a difference.