The 2017 County Health Rankings revealed that Williamson County sits at No. 4 in the healthiest Texas Counties, following Collin County, Hartley County and Denton County at No. 1. Travis County fell closely behind taking fifth place.
The County Health Rankings released its list ranking the 243 counties on March 29. So how did Williamson County score so high?
Williamson County ranked second in the health factors category, which factors in the rate of education, crime, employment, housing, exercise and unhealthy behaviors. These components are deemed changeable behaviors, meaning they identify present and future status of health in a county.
“We’re a wealthy county, with a high medium household income of $74,000,” John Teel, M.S., R.S., Williamson County and Cities Health District Executive Director, said. “Wealthy residents produce highly educated adults. Educated adults turn their kids into healthy adults with their good health insurance and good decision making on healthy living.”
The county ranked fourth in health outcomes, which measures the quality of physical and mental health, as well as the length of life of residents.
Williamson County earned second place for clinical care, fourth in social and economic factors and seventh for overall quality of life.
“Someone said, ‘If you don’t know where you are, and don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there.’ County Health Rankings lets us know where we are and where we want to go so we can use our community resources more efficiently and effectively to get there,” Texas Health Institute president and CEO Camille Miller said.
Since these ranking were introduced in 2010, Williamson County has been listed as the first-, second-, third- and fourth- healthiest county in Texas.
“Williamson County has an ongoing community health assessment and improvement process,” Teel said. “Critical to this process are the health district’s many partners such as The WilCo Wellness Alliance, stakeholders at the local, county and state level, school districts, and healthcare partners. The county health rankings will help us understand our strengths and assess our most pressing health problems so that we can work together on solutions.”
Teel said that health districts across America wait with bated breath for these results every March.
“I always want us to be in the top 10,” he said. “We’re in the top three percent of counties in Texas and I want to stay there. We have to make sure that we do.”
In order to do so, Teel said they have identified areas they need to improve on. These areas are as follows:
1) Better access to behavioral healthcare.
2) Better access to medical healthcare.
3) Increased awareness of health care access.
4) More access to active living situations and places to burn calories such as biking and walking trails, facilities like YMCA and parks.
5) Additional education on chronic diseases.
The annual County Health Rankings report is produced by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin. Rankings are determined by using county-level measures from a range of state and national data sources.