JACKSON, Ky (WYMT) - Are you miserable? If not, you might consider yourself lucky. The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index indicates Kentucky is the second most miserable state in the nation. Neighboring West Virginia tops the list.
According to the data, hunger and unhealthy habits play a big role in making Kentuckians so sad.
At Helping Hands Christian Resources in Breathitt County, President and CEO Cathaleen Abner said a struggling economy is one of the major issues impacting morale in the commonwealth.
"Every community has its problems. Issues, you know, that are negative," said Abner.
Another issue is a lack of healthy food on the table. That is where this food pantry tries to help.
"For many years, when we first began, our average was 245 clients per month. Of course you know it would be lower and higher, but that would be an annual average. Now we serve over 500," said Abner.
The study shows this is not just an eastern Kentucky problem however. Statewide, less than 60 percent of Kentuckians said they ate well every day, which is the worst among all 50 states. In addition, about 30 percent of the state's residents are obese. That is the ninth highest in the nation.
Susan Zepeda, who oversees Foundation for Healthy Kentucky, tells WYMT there are reasons for that.
"It is partly about habits and choices and it is partly about opportunities in your community," said Zepeda.
Statistics her organization collects show that is particularly tough in Appalachia, which is motivation to keep women like Cathaleen Abner going.
"It is overwhelming because you are glad you are here and you want to be of help but it is sad that the people need it," said Abner.
Tennessee and Ohio also landed in the top ten for most miserable states.