Children in Poverty by County

Poverty and food insecurity are the two most detrimental economic conditions that affect children’s health. These, along with the material hardships of crowded housing and insufficient home heating and cooling, conspire to slow normal child development. The cost of health care that results from poverty is about $22 billion annually. Recession is especially cruel to poor children because it deprives their parents of earning power and erodes the government safety net designed to minimize the damage. Mothers of poor children are more likely to have fair or poor health than their more affluent peers, miss more school because of illness… Full Story

Ozone Days By County

Air pollution is a deeply underappreciated risk to health. More than half of the U.S. population lives in areas where either the ozone or particle pollution—or both—is often dangerous to breathe. Ozone is the primary ingredient of smog. Unlike the beneficial ozone layer in the upper atmosphere that shields the sun’s ultraviolet radiation, ground-level ozone attacks lung tissue by reacting chemically with it. Ozone is formed when nitrogen oxides (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) come in contact with heat and sunlight. NOx are emitted by power plans, motor vehicles and other sources of high-heat combustion. VOCs sources include motor… Full Story

Teen Birth Rate by County

Dallas County has more than twice the birth rate of the average U.S. teenager, and Tarrant County is not far behind. While Dallas still has a birth rate of 76 percent per 1,000 women aged 15-19, U.S. teen births have fallen to historic lows, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The U.S. teen birth rate declined 9 percent from 2009 to 2010, falling to 34.3 births per 1,000 women aged 15-19, its lowest point since record-keeping began in 1940. Fewer babies were born to teens in 2010 than in any year since 1946. However, The Tarrant County rate is… Full Story

Premature Death Rate by County

An important health measure is premature death, or years of potential life lost. The standard age for this measure in the developed world is 75 years, meaning most people would live to be that age if not for extenuating circumstances. There is considerable debate about the causes of premature death. Some blame shortcomings in the U.S. health-care system. Others point to destructive health behaviors. Still others cite the effects of poverty. Nearly one-quarter of American women and one-third of American men die before age 75 of causes that potentially could have been prevented by timely and effective health care, according… Full Story

Poor or Fair Health by County

The federal government tracks an index called health-related quality of life (HRQOL-4), also known as the Healthy Days Measures. The index is designed to be a measurable summary of a subjective self-evaluation of health, which can be a complex and difficult concept to define. One of the questions is: The questions is: “Would you say that in general your health is excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor?” Health-related quality of life captures a general sense of well-being comfort with life, and reflects the confidence in being to perform physically, mentally, emotionally and socially. It has been suggested that the… Full Story

Adult Obesity By County

Ten years ago, the percentage of people considered clinically obese was under 20 percent in 28 states. That is the case now in only one state: Colorado. Moreover, in nine states, more than 30 percent of the residents are now obese. The Centers for Disease Control, which now reports the nation’s obesity rate at 28 percent, indicated that it’s probably much higher, because people often underestimate or understate their weight in surveys. A previous CDC study based on actual measurements of height and weight found that almost 34 percent of Americans were obese. Obesity is based on a body-mass index… Full Story

Excessive Drinking By County

Excessive drinking measures reflect the percent of adults who report either binge drinking, defined as consuming more than four (women) or five (men) alcoholic beverages on a single occasion in the past 30 days, or heavy drinking, defined as drinking more than one (women) or two (men) drinks per day on average. Unlike moderate drinking, binge drinking is unequivocally bad. It is a leading preventable cause of death, killing about 79,000 Americans annually and shortening lives by an average of about 30 years. Binge drinkers consume an average of eight drinks at a time. They tend to be men younger… Full Story

Adult Smoking By County

The reduction in cigarette smoking is arguably the most successful achievement in U.S. public health in the last 50 years. However, smoking remains the most common cause of preventable death. The adult smoking rate has declined by half, to about 19 percent, since the early 1960s. If the trend continues, the smoking rate will be less than 17 percent by 2020 and stabilize at about 13.5 percent by 2050, according to an Institute of Medicine computer simulation. Nevertheless, the rate essentially has hovered around 20 percent since 2004. Adult smoking rates in Collin and Denton counties are significantly below the… Full Story

Low Birth Weight By County

Low birth-weight, defined as a baby weighing less than 5 lb. 8 oz. at birth, is a leading determinant of infant death. Women who drink, smoke, or have poor nutrition during pregnancy—as well as those who are physically or emotionally abused—are more likely to have low birth-weight babies. Infant mortality is often used to compare the health and well-being of nations, as well as population groups within nations. Compared to infants of normal weight, low birth-weight infants may have an increased risk for many negative circumstances: illness through the first six days of life, infections, and the longer-term consequences of… Full Story

Physical Inactivity by County

Physical inactivity can lead to obesity and Type 2 diabetes. On the other hand, physical activity can help control weight, reduce the risk of heart disease and some cancers, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve mental health. For these statistics, physical inactivity refers adults who report no physical activity or exercise other than their jobs. Across the United States, county-level estimates range from 10 percent to 43 percent. The nation’s average is 21 percent. Adults in DFW counties and the state of Texas are slightly less active, with averages ranging from 22 percent in Collin and Tarrant counties to 24… Full Story