Survey Finds Houstonian Health Worse Than National Average

Excerpt By Todd Ackerman, Houston Chronicle

One in five Houstonians is in poor or fair health, double the U.S. average, a University of Texas survey has found.

The survey, which tracked respondents' assessments of their own health, also found that Hispanics are by far the city's most uninsured group, even when illegal immigrants are excluded. Half of all residents lack dental insurance and the percentage of people reporting psychiatric distress is also twice the national average.

"This scorecard shows that we're still not where we need to be," said Stephen Linder, the study leader and a professor at the UT School of Public Health in Houston. "In many areas, Houston health is worse than I would have thought."

Linder will present the survey to local health officials in a series of meetings this week. He said he hopes groups devise strategies to address the failings, and also said he will seek funding to update the survey periodically to track whether improvement is being made.

Some of the poor showings came as a surprise, he said, because they occurred despite recent safety-net and health improvement campaigns.

The survey, conducted last fall and this spring and available publicly Monday at, is the first to map Houston health by neighborhood and race or ethnic group. Current data only give broad information for Harris County.

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Todd Ackerman

Posted Monday, November 07, 2011 in CHRISTUS Foundation for HealthCare,

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