How healthy is your county? New website has the answer - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

How healthy is your county? New website has the answer

By Courtney Lane - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - For the first time, we are getting a detailed look at how East Texas counties stack up when it comes to health. Whether you want to find the percentage of smokers, binge drinking, teen pregnancy or children living in poverty, it is all one click away.

How do East Texas counties compare to others across the state and nation?

"We have a lot of rural counties who don't have that access to health care, they don't have public health districts implementing programs so their likelihood of smoking and drinking and lack of diet and exercise, obesity those are going to go up," explained Stephanie Taylor with the Northeast Texas Public Health District.

They say the website is a great tool they will use to see what areas need improvement. East Texas as a whole has high rates of diabetes and heart disease. But Taylor says they are slowly making progress by implementing healthy living programs.

"To target diet, exercise, obesity then we can use that program and go out and spread it into other counties," Taylor explained.

The site gives good direction. The five unhealthiest counties in our area, according to county health rankings are Anderson, Cherokee, Panola, Shelby and Marion County, which was the unhealthiest, ranking 219th out of 221 counties.

Scoring the highest are Rains, Delta, Smith, Titus, and Franklin.

One interesting point from the results is the lack of nutritious options. In Anderson County, for instance, only 23% of people are showing access to healthy foods, compared to 41% in Smith. In Gregg, it is more than half of the population, but there is still room for improvement.

"We're behind [counties] like Dallas [where] you can go to a vegetarian restaurant, you can get organic food and so we're still kind of trailing that but I think we're making some really good progress," said Taylor.

With the new resource, you and health officials can target problem areas.

The County Health Rankings were released by the University of Wisconsin.

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