NPR for North Texas
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Texas Health Ranking Falls Slightly, Now 36 Out Of 50

United Health Foundation

The annual America’s Health Rankings report for 2013 has just been released. And while it shows American’s made considerable progress in their overall health, the state of Texas still comes in in the bottom half – at number 36. The main challenges? Physical inactivity and high number of uninsured.

Texans’ weight is literally weighing the state down in the rankings. Texas dropped a notch in the United Health Foundation’s rankings, the state is now 36th out of the 50 states.

The magic number assigned to states — determined since 1990 by the United Health Foundation, American Public Health Association, and Partnership for Prevention — takes into consideration 27 health measures, ranging from specific behaviors to clinical care to policy.

First, The Positive

  • Low rate of drug deaths
  • Few poor mental health days per month
  • Low rate of cancer deaths

In the past year, Texas has also made significant progress in lowering the prevalence of binge drinking, preventable hospitalizations, and violent crime, according to Dr. Rhonda Randall, D.O., senior adviser to United Health Foundation.
The Challenges

  • High prevalence of physical inactivity — Texas ranked 42nd out of fifty states
  • High percentage of uninsured population —  Texas ranked 50th out of 50 states
  • Large disparity in health status by educational attainment

So Who’s Number One?

The state of Hawaii was number one. The palm trees and fresh coconut milk probably help.

Lauren Silverman was the Health, Science & Technology reporter/blogger at KERA News. She was also the primary backup host for KERA’s Think and the statewide newsmagazine  Texas Standard. In 2016, Lauren was recognized as Texas Health Journalist of the Year by the Texas Medical Association. She was part of the Peabody Award-winning team that covered Ebola for NPR in 2014. She also hosted "Surviving Ebola," a special that won Best Long Documentary honors from the Public Radio News Directors Inc. (PRNDI). And she's won a number of regional awards, including an honorable mention for Edward R. Murrow award (for her project “The Broken Hip”), as well as the Texas Veterans Commission’s Excellence in Media Awards in the radio category.