County health ratings released
CONROE, Texas -- The 2012 County Health Rankings were released this month by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. The Institute, in conjunction, with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Prevention Institute are national partners with United Way World Wide in its Health Mobilization group. Montgomery County United Way is pleased a member of this group.
The Health Rankings are an annual check-up that highlight the healthiest and least healthiest counties in every state. They show the importance of critical factors such as education rates, income levels and access to healthy foods, as well as access to medical care, in influencing how long and how well people live. Organizaations have the option to compare different counties, allowing them to gauge where they stand in relation to neighboring communities.
The Health Rankings along with the “2011 Montgomery County Health Assessment”, created for Montgomery County United Way and area health partners by the Texas Health Institute, give a benchmark of the health of the county. MCUW, in its 2008 Priorities Report identified “Access to Affordable and Quality Healthcare” as an area of the concern based on available data. After trying to fund programs to improve access, MCUW volunteers found that the community was lacking in available health resources and that an assessment would show where to direct valuable and limited resources for measured success.
Since the Assessment was released, MCUW has engaged a diverse multi-section team of partners who are committed to improved health, including but not limited to:
- The Healthy Living Alliance: concerned with the high rate of obesity or being overweight which tops out at 70% of the Montgomery County population.
- The Navigation Task Force: designed to set up a program to educate the public on patient access and community healthcare resources.
- The Dental Task Force: committee to address the severe need for affordable or free dental services for adults and children in Montgomery County.
The 2012 Health Rankings offers trends, potential challenges, data and measures including health specific health factors:
- Health Behaviors – alcohol & tobacco usage, diet and exercise, Clinical Care – quality and access to care.
- Social & Economic Factors– education, safety, income, family and social support
- Physical Environment – environmental quality.
According to the Rankings, Montgomery County’s jumped from 49th in 2011 to 41st in 2012.
Further information can be found at www.countyhealthrankings.org (search Montgomery County). MCUW is asking interested parties to view the data, then get involved in one of the health groups forming so that Montgomery County can create a shared vision and commitment to improved health.
When developing solutions to the county’s most pressing problems, the focus should be cautioned against using “one size fits all” policies or programs. The community should focus on building on our inherent strengths, capitalizing on available resources, and responding to unique community needs.
For more information, contact MCUW’s Healthcare Coordinator, Kim Borneman at 936-760-4179, ext. 304 or email. To view the 2011 Montgomery County Health Assessment, visit www.mcuw.org and click on “Health Assessment”.