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Smith County ranks high in healthy living, according to report

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SMITH COUNTY (TYLER MORNING TELEGRAPH) - Comparing 232 Texas counties, Smith County ranks 83rd for its health outcomes and 50th for its health factors, according to the County Health Ranking report, released Wednesday. Smith County's standing decreased from last year. It ranked 65th in health outcomes and 35th in health factors.

The health rankings report is published annually by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The report examines 25 factors that influence health such as smoking rates, teen birth rates, access to doctors, poverty and access to healthy foods.


TRENDS

According to the health rankings report, teen birth rates are more than twice as high in the least healthy counties than in the healthiest counties. However, East Texas counties, with the exception of Rusk and Wood counties, have improved its teen birth rates.

National trends also show that child poverty rates have not improved since 2000, but locally, Cherokee, Gregg, Rusk, Henderson, Upshur and Wood counties have reported slight improvements in childhood poverty.

Nationally, the rates of premature deaths are at the lowest level in 20 years, according to the report. That trend is reflected in Smith, Anderson, Cherokee, Gregg, Rusk, and Henderson counties. However, in Upshur, Van Zandt and Wood counties, their premature death rates are above the national average.

Adult obesity rates remained flat over the last two years in Smith and surrounding counties, ranging from 26 percent to 33 percent.

Nationally, an average of 18 percent of the population is uninsured. In Smith County, the number of uninsured increased from 25 percent to 27 percent, slightly above the state average of 26 percent. Cherokee, Gregg, Henderson and Upshur counties also saw slight dips in the percentage of uninsured residents.

Violent crime has decreased nationwide by nearly 50 percent over the last 20 years. In East Texas, Gregg County far exceeds the state's violent crime rate of 483. The county's rate is 715, compared to 771 last year.

Gregg County also continues the trend of a high number of sexually transmitted infections, going from 688 last year to 718 in Wednesday's report. The state figure is 476 and the national average is 315.


TEXAS' HEALTHIEST COUNTIES

Williamson
Collin
Denton
Rockwall
Kendall
Presidio
Goliad
Gillespie
Comal
Erath


TEXAS' LEAST HEALTHY COUNTIES
Polk
San Augustine
Shelby
Brooks
Kimble
Hutchinson
Coke
Red River
Orange
Cochran

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