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NEWS

New Study Ranks Health of Counties

Tarrant County is the 28th healthiest county in Texas, according to a national report released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The fifth annual County Health Rankings measure the health of nearly every county in all 50 states. Since 2011, United Way has been a national partner of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program. The findings are available at www.countyhealthrankings.org.

The rankings provide county-to-county comparisons within a state. They are based on two sets of measures:
• Health outcomes (length and quality of life)
• Health factors (health behaviors, access to and quality of clinical care, social and economic factors, and the physical environment)

HEALTH OUTCOMES
Based on how long people live and how healthy they feel while alive, Tarrant County is the 28th healthiest county among the 232 Texas counties that were ranked. (Twenty-two Texas counties could not be ranked due to insufficient data.) Denton County places 4th while Parker County is 25th, Dallas County ranks 58th and Johnson County is 115th.

HEALTH FACTORS
The rankings allow counties to see how well they are doing on 29 factors that influence health, including smoking, high school graduation rates, employment, physical inactivity, and access to healthy foods. Tarrant County ranks 43rd among the ranked Texas counties when it comes to factors that influence health. Surrounding county rankings include Denton, 5th; Parker, 23rd; Johnson, 80th; and Dallas, 130th. According to the report, overall rankings in health factors can be viewed as an estimate of the future health of counties compared to other counties within a state.

Examining trends in Tarrant County, the report finds that measures of premature death, uninsured residents, air pollution, preventable hospital stays and diabetic screening are getting better. The latter two trends are especially good news to United Way of Tarrant County and its partners that have been working on reducing preventable hospital stays and providing diabetic screening as part of United Way’s Live Well health initiative.

“We have several strategies underway that enable adults to manage their chronic health conditions in order to feel better and avoid costly hospital, emergency room and nursing home options,” said United Way CEO Tim McKinney. “Our local measurements indicate we’re making progress, and it’s good to learn that this national report confirms that conditions are trending in a positive direction.”

The national report found that Tarrant County measures of adult obesity, sexually transmitted infections, unemployment and children living in poverty are getting worse. Measures of physical inactivity, mammography screening and violent crime have remained the same in the county, according to the report.