Wednesday, April 1, 2015

How Healthy Is Your County?

The 2015 County Health Rankings are in, and for the second year in a row, Presidio, Collin, and Williamson counties are Texas’ top three for overall health of their residents, while Limestone, Polk, and San Augustine counties bring up the rear.

Research published by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation examines the health of nearly every county in each state including Texas. The interactive report looks at health outcomes such as length and quality of life, and factors that affect health. Some of these factors include the number of uninsured residents, smoking and obesity rates, education, unemployment, and the environment.

A snapshot of trends in Texas counties:

  • Counties along the Texas-Mexico border, West Texas counties, and several counties in the Panhandle scored low in the Clinical Care category. This is due mainly to the higher rate of uninsured residents, which is a significant barrier to accessing needed health care.
  • Counties with large suburban populations scored high for overall health factors, likely because of easier access to physicians and health care providers, clinics, hospitals, exercise opportunities, and healthy food options.
  • Counties subjected to high counts of daily fine particulate matter in the air are concentrated in West Texas, the northern part of the Panhandle, and near the Oklahoma-Arkansas border. Fine particulate matter includes toxic organic compounds and heavy metal particulates that result from forest and brush fires, automobile exhaust, and smelting.

Discover your county’s data and compare it with other Texas counties.

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