Across the board, Texans say they would be healthier if the state dedicates more resources, including money, toward nonmedical factors for their well-being, according to the new scan.
The Episcopal Health Foundation found that 65% of the population believes Texas should do more to address the social determinants of health, also referred to as “non-medical drivers.”
These include access to healthy foods, quality education, employment, convenient transportation, social networking and safe neighborhoods, said Dr. Ann Barnes, president and CEO of the foundation.
“Texas understand the importance of these things,” Barnes emphasized. “If the goal is health, our state and our insurance companies must cover strategies that meet those social, economic and environmental needs.”
According to the survey, 65% of Texans said people would be healthier if the state spent more on these non-medical factors, including 72% of the black population, 75% of Hispanics in Texas and 76% of young people under the age of 30 . In low-income areas, the inability to find affordable housing, and living in areas with air, water or chemical pollution have all been found to negatively affect health.
Barnes noted that the medical profession now recognizes that 80% of a person’s health is affected by factors outside the exam room. These non-medical drivers are important for disease prevention and chronic disease management, she added.
“Food security financing, so that an individual who has diabetes and needs to have healthy food has access to that healthy food, which helps them control their disease,” Barnes explained.
Additional survey results show that Texas also wants health insurance providers, doctors and clinics to take more steps to play a greater role in health. More than half of the respondents said they were unemployed or had a job that did not pay well, and an equal number said they lived in an area with poor public transportation.
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