Southeast Texas doesn't fare well in health rankings

Expert says it's a wake up call

The county health rankings are a snapshot of the health and wellness of you and your neighbors, but it's not always a pretty picture in southeast Texas.

Abbey Cofsky with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation explained how researchers with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health compiled county by county data from 2008 to 2010.

"We're really seeing the county health rankings as a call to action," said Cofsky.

The foundation reviewed 25 factors that influence health, from poverty and smoking to education and exercise.

The county health rankings in the Local 2 viewing area broke down like this: Fort Bend came in at 13, Brazoria at 32, Montgomery at 45, and Harris County, which is Houston, and the largest county in Texas, ranked 70.

"There is an opportunity for improvement and I think some places where we see Harris County dropping in the ranking is because of the high rate of children in poverty and the low graduation rates. So there really is an opportunity to move the dial on those factors. We know that we'll improve health and remove the county's ranking down the road," said Cofsky.

When it comes to improving facts that lead to premature death, researchers said small steps can get us in the right direction. Cofsky said that some of the ideas would be to read to children and encourage healthy opportunities in the lunchroom and on the playground.

To see the complete list of Texas rankings:



Copyright 2012 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.