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Texas makes strides in annual health rankings

SAN ANTONIO – The state of our health is on the rise in Texas. Wednesday the United Health Foundation released its annual health rankings. Texas has made some significant strides, but it's also made a few stumbles.  

The state's poverty rate is also nothing to brag about. But we do have a low rate of drug related deaths. We also seem to be happier than the rest of the nation, with fewer poor mental health days than most states in the country.

"Overall, Texas is ranked No. 31," said Dr. Rhonda Randall, with the United Health Foundation. "We were ranked 36 last year, so we've improved by 5 (percent), which is a pretty significant improvement, so it's something to be proud of. "

That improvement might be attributed to Texas' smoking rates, which decreased by 13 percent. However, nearly 16 percent of Texans are still puffing.

Another improvement in Texas was the immunization record. Twelve percent more kids got their shots, which puts the state at nearly 75 percent overall.

Texas also had a lower percentage of infant mortality, with 38 percent less kids dying at birth.

But there's bad news, too. Efforts to help Texans lose weight hasn't resulted in a lower obesity rate in our state. We are now 36th in the nation. And 30 percent of Texans are obese. That could be a result of our activity. Texas is toward the back of the pack at No. 41 in the country for staying active.

"More than a quarter of the adults in Texas -- more than 27 percent in fact -- report that they recieve no physical activity other than their regular activities of daily living," Randall said. " We see that as becoming the most worrisome trend nationally as well. We are more and more becoming a state and a nation of couch potatoes."----dr. Rhonda randall/united health foundation

But Texas' No. 1 health issue is diabetes, and it shows no signs of slowing down. It continues its climb, affecting 10 percent of the population in Texas.