According to a recent survey, the top two healthiest counties in the state lie side by side on the northern side of the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area: Collin County (No. 1) and Denton County (No. 2).
Those rankings come from a 2022 report by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, which looked at numerous categories of wellness statistics to determine two rankings: health outcomes and health factors. Health outcomes examine such things as premature deaths, low birth weights and the percentage of adults in poor or fair health to determine the current overall condition of a county.
Researchers say the purpose of the rankings is to help prompt action toward better health for all, since injustices and opportunity barriers lead to health differences within communities.
"Communities use the rankings to build support for local health improvement initiatives by engaging many sectors including public health, health care, business, policymakers, and local residents," according to the report.
Health outcomes "reflect the physical and mental well-being of residents through measures representing the length and quality of life typically experienced in the community," the report said.
Health factors measure the elements in a county that can help or hurt people, such as adult smoking, adult obesity, health insurance status, education and pollution. "They are predictors of how healthy our communities can be in the future," the report said.
Matt Richardson, director of Denton County Public Health, said he was pleased with his county's standing overall, the Denton Record-Chronicle reported. "It's good to be No. 2 out of 254 in those health outcomes," he told the newspaper.
The latest report uses data from 2018 to 2020, and it includes COVID-19 deaths from 2020. Only 244 counties were ranked. Here are the top 10 in the health outcomes category:
- Collin County
- Denton County
- Williamson County
- Fort Bend County
- Rockwall County
- Travis County
- Kendall County
- Hays County
- Hemphill County
- Comal County
The Dallas-Fort Worth area also had a third county in the top 10 — Rockwall County — but four of the healthiest counties lie in the I-35 corridor from Austin to San Antonio: Williamson, Travis, Hays, Comal counties. And Kendall County borders Comal County.
The report, which looks at counties across the U.S., is called the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps.