The University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute’s county health ranking suggests that North Texans are among the healthiest individuals in the state. On top is Collin County.
An annual ranking from the university identifies the healthiest and least healthy counties in each state to help officials decide where to invest resources.
Collin County ranked first in the state for health outcomes such as length and quality of life. It also ranked first for health factors such as health behaviors, clinical care, socioeconomic factors and more.
Health behaviors refer to health-oriented practices, also including dietary habits and physical activity, which can have positive or negative effects on the health of individuals or the wider community. The choices individuals make in terms of their health behaviors are often influenced by the availability of resources in the places where they reside, study, work, or engage in leisure activities.
Quality of life is just as important — it shows the importance of physical, mental, social and emotional health from birth to adulthood.
“Quality of life data tells us about how people perceive their health,” the report explained. “It tells us whether they feel healthy and satisfied. It is important to understand the perceived physical and mental health of a community so we can identify patterns over time and inequities between groups of people. We can also identify risk factors and policies that address those risk factors.”
According to the report, counties with superior health tend to have improved access to information, which can be facilitated by factors such as reliable broadband, well-equipped libraries and local news outlets. Additionally, well-funded schools and parks may also contribute to better health outcomes.
This year, Denton ranked second healthiest. But Dallas County, which was 43rd last year, is now 52nd. Kaufman County also dropped to 64th from 61st last year.