By Elsa Maxey
Although 20 percent of those in Fort Bend County are without health insurance, according to the 2013 county health rankings in the U.S. released by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, it is ranked number 13 out of just about all of the 254 counties in Texas. A total of 232 were ranked. This is an indication that those that live in the county can be said to be at the top tier of a healthy state of well being.
The number one health county rank in Texas went to Williamson. Its data shows 18 percent of the population to be uninsured, but there are other health impacting categories that went into earning it that title spot.
In fact, a total of 25 factors influencing health were examined for the county health rankings nationwide, which have been reported since 2010. They include rates of childhood poverty, smoking, obesity levels, teen birth rates, access to doctors and dentists, educational attainment, access to health and fast foods, physical inactivity levels, and percentages of children living in single parent homes among other factors.
Here is one surprise. The percentage of fast food restaurants in neighboring Harris County is fewer than those in Fort Bend County reported at 52 percent and 55 percent, respectively. Harris County, however, was ranked at number 70 for wellness factoring in other measures, including the 30 percent figure for those without health insurance. Bordering Fort Bend on the other side towards the Gulf Coast is Brazoria County, ranked number 32 in the state for wellness. Twenty-one percent of its population is uninsured, according to the report.
The county rankings reportedly show trends for medical and social conditions impacting geographic populations, including violent crime rates, which in Fort Bend County is 347/100,000, in Harris County, 834/100,000; and Brazoria County, 202/100,000. Essentially, the factors contribute to the kinds of things that may determine the longevity of people. They are intended to set the groundwork for improvement efforts by leaders in the private and public sector.
Fort Bend County reportedly has been recognized for receiving the best overall ranking of the Houston’s 10 counties, and Dr. M. des Vignes-Kendrick, Fort Bend County Health and Human Services Director, recently shared the good news with county officials.