(KTAB/KRBC) – A new study shows that every single county in the Big County has gotten fatter over the past ten years.

The study, which BarBend.com compiled from the most recent County Health Rankings Report, shows that all local counties have gotten fatter by three to twelve percent.

The following list from BarBend shows the percentage each county got fatter from 2012 to 2022 (the number in parenthesis is the statewide ranking, from least to most fat):

  • Cooke (8) – 3% 
  • Runnels (11) – 3%
  • Brown (27) – 5%
  • Callahan (28) – 5%
  • Coke (29) – 5%
  • Mitchell (32) – 6%
  • Shackelford (65) – 6%
  • Kent (87) – 7%
  • Mills (93) – 7%
  • Throckmorton (101) – 7%
  • Comanche (116) – 8%
  • Eastland (119) – 8%
  • Fisher (121) – 8%
  • Jones (131) – 8%
  • Nolan (140) – 8%
  • Stonewall (145) – 8%
  • Taylor (146) – 8%
  • Coleman (156) – 9%
  • Stephens (204) – 10%
  • Haskell (228) – 12%

County Health Rankings were determine using two factors, health outcomes, based on how long people live and how healthy people feel while alive, and health factors, which an estimate of the future health of counties as compared to other counties within a state. The ranks are based on four types of measures: health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic, and physical environment factors.

A further breakdown of the County Health Rankings Report shows that out of 244 Texas Counties, Coleman is one of the most unhealthy, coming in at 233 on the list.

Most of the Big Country Counties are in the bottom 50% of counties in Texas, with the healthiest county in this area, Cooke, making the number 50 spot.

The full breakdown of Big Country Counties, according to the Health Rankings, is as follows (the number in parenthesis is the statewide ranking, out of 244 total counties)

  • Brown (153)
  • Callahan (189)
  • Coke (82)
  • Coleman (233)
  • Comanche (73)
  • Cooke (50)
  • Eastland (201)
  • Fisher (179)
  • Haskell (157)
  • Jones (72)
  • Kent (NR)
  • King (NR)
  • Mitchell (132)
  • Nolan (174)
  • Runnels (93)
  • Scurry (124)
  • Stephens (152)
  • Stonewall (129)
  • Taylor (151)
  • Throckmorton (113)

Taylor County is experiencing more premature death than the rest of Texas and the United States. The study measures premature death in “years of potential life lost”, and Taylor County has been losing more years of potential life to premature death steadily since 2010.

In 2019, Taylor County had lost an estimated 9,700 year of potential life to premature death as compared to 5,600 years in Texas and 7,000 in the United States.

Quality of life was also considered in the study, and this area shows that 22% of Taylor County residents are in poor or fair health, and 9% of Taylor County babies are born with a low birthweight. 
Health behaviors, such as smoking, obesity, food environment index, physical activity levels, drinking, STIs, and more also played into Taylor County’s rating.

Most of these factors were on par with the rest of the nation and state, but Taylor County is slightly more obese  obese. Taylor County also had more alcohol impaired driving deaths than the US but less than other parts of Texas.

One of the most alarming statistics in Taylor County is the teen birth rate, which is 33 locally compared to 11 on average in the United States and 29 in Taylor County. 

Read more about what is contributing to Taylor County’s overall heath rating and check out other counties in the area here.