Collin, Denton counties are healthiest in Texas
North Texans are some of the healthiest people in the state, according to a county health ranking by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.
Why it matters: The annual ranking identifies the healthiest and least healthy counties in each state with the intent to help officials decide where to invest their resources.
How it works: The annual ranking crunches "health outcomes" data — such as premature death, low birth weight, and self-reported mental and physical well-being — along with "health factors," such as the number of dentists in a community and the rate of sexually transmitted infections.
- Healthier counties tend to have better access to information through things like good broadband, libraries and local news outlets, as well as well-funded schools and parks.
Zoom in: Collin County ranks first this year for both health outcomes and health factors, like it did last year.
- Denton County ranks second.
Yes, but: Dallas County, which was 43rd for health outcomes last year, is now 52nd. And Kaufman County dropped to 64th from 61st last year.
State of play: The data is so rich that even high-scoring communities can find weak spots to tackle, often by solving problems that don't appear to be health related — such as inadequate housing, long solo commutes and even low voter turnout, Axios' Emily Harris reports.
- The research also includes data-backed strategies to address specific problems, like child care subsidies to help close income gaps, or supporting community gardens to promote exercise and healthier eating.
What they're saying: "Where there's an opportunity for change is in those health factors," Ericka Burroughs-Girardi, the project's research program coordinator, tells Axios. "When health factors go up, health rankings tend to follow."
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