The latest health rankings are in and most Valley counties are in the top 100 when it comes to longevity. However taking a closer look at the numbers, the picture isn’t as pretty.
Health in the Rio Grande Valley is worsening. This, according to the latest health numbers from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Winsconsin Population Health Institute, which ranks all of Texas’ 254 counties. Here’s how it works: researchers collect data to determine two rankings, one for health outcomes and one for health factors, and the valley shows a sharp contrast. Outcomes measure length of life and how people feel in terms of quality of life. That’s where the region scores pretty well. However, when speaking of health factors, which measures behaviors, clinical care, social, economic and environmental factors, the counties of Starr, Hidalgo, Cameron and Willacy are at the bottom 50, and the numbers are falling when compared to last year. And that is what several cities across the valley are doing, including McAllen, who’s school district became first and only to implement the ‘get moving’ campaign by the first lady in all of its schools in 2014. Both Reyna and Rodriguez agree that investing in proper education can help reverse these trends regardless of anyone’s economic situation. For more information on health activities hosted in your community, contact your local or county health department.