Texas Moves To 40th Place In 2012 America's Health Rankings

There is good and bad news for Texas in the annual study done by America's Health Rankings.

The 2012 America's Health Rankings found that Texas moved up a couple of notches to 40th place. It compiled data from the CDC, American Medical Health Association, the Census Bureau and even the FBI. Dr Salil Deshpande is the medical director with United Health Foundation, a nonprofit that conducts the annual snapshot.

"One of the things that's interesting here in Texas is that we actually have a fairly low rate of tobacco use, relative to other states. And I think especially as we think about the impact of the Texas Medical Center and the focus on cardiovascular disease, we know that there has been over time, significant reduction in the use of tobacco in Texas in our adult population."

While Texas has one of the lowest rates of cancer deaths in the United States, it claims a higher obesity rate than the national average and an increase in infectious diseases. Deshpande says the study finds more than 30 percent of  adults in Texas are obese, because of poor eating habits and little or no exercise.

"It's very important for people to understand that something as simple as a weight reduction of 5 to 7 percent loss of your body weight can actually improve your risk for diabetes substantially."

Although Texas has the highest rate of uninsured, it has gone down slightly. That still creates a problem at hospital emergency rooms from people who might not have a doctor.

"It is a problem and that's where we're trying to really steer people to a more appropriate setting for their healthcare."

That's Janet Donath, executive director of the Good Neighbor Healthcare Center, a nonprofit income based medical clinic in the Heights.

"We see a lot of patients here that come under our care for diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, things that you need to see a physician on a regular basis, but you really need to find a physician that knows you, and knows how to help you have the maximum quality of life."

She says it's not unusual for clients to be with them for a long time.

"We have families that were in the 4th Ward [that] have kids have grown up and moved out, but because Good Neighbor was their doctor, they come back to see us. And that's really what we want to be. We want to be where the person goes for their health, and really improve their health and wellness."

You can find more information at www.americashealthranking.org and www.gnhc.org.

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Pat Hernandez

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Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...