Figures to be released later today will show Bexar County is improving on several measures of healthy living, from cutting down on smoking and obesity to getting more exercise, 1200 WOAI news has learned.
The figures are kept by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. They'll show Bexar County ranking 69th out of the 254 counties in Texas for health outcomes, that is up from 86th in 2013.
Dr. Robert Blanchard, a statistician at the University of the Incarnate Word and the Chair of the Data Committee of the Health Collaborative, says it isn't happening by accident.
"The City and Bexar County are very engaged in assessing the health of the population in the county and the city, and developing improvement plans," he said.
Blanchard said Bexar County residents are doing better on key factors such as exercising. He says other factors considered in the rankings include reducing smoking, eating healthy foods, and engaging in physical activity.
Other factors which go into ranking health have nothing to do with health, but are known to lead to a healthier lifestyle. They include high school graduation rates, employment, and having a higher income.
Dr. Blanchard says one thing that is blocking increased improvement in our health scores is growing 'economic segregation.' He says wealthier people, mainly on the north side, are doing far better in meeting all of these challenges than low income individuals.
"We are now a highly segregated county, with residential segregation based on income, much more so than we have been in the past," he said.
But he says our lifestyles are improving and that is what is raising our health score.
"Parks, pathways, and bicycles, that sort of thing, are substantially improved over the last two years," he said. "Diet and exercise have substantially improved over this period of time, and access to health care has also improved."
The report indicates that pathologies which lead to poor health, like early teen pregnancy, are also being addressed by the county.