County health rankings report reveals social factors that shape health

At Prosper Waco, we embrace a vision of health equity where every person has the opportunity to be healthy. But it’s important to unpack the factors that shape this opportunity. Depending on your household income, your neighborhood amenities, and the availability of quality education and jobs that are within reach, the ability to make choices that support your health varies across counties and zip codes.


With the recent release of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps 2020 Report, the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, marked a decade of county health rankings reporting and highlighting the centrality of social, economic, and environmental factors that influence people’s opportunity to attain and maintain health.


We have known about health disparities (in outcomes) for decades. Yet differences in health outcomes have, at times, been attributed to individual health behaviors or biological determinants and failed to capture the full picture of what shapes health. As we focus on a more comprehensive view of health inequities – and understand the constellation of medical and nonmedical drivers of health – we can more readily perceive that health-supporting behaviors, preventative medical care, and even the most basic health-protective amenities like adequate housing or walkable neighborhoods are simply not accessible to all of our neighbors. That’s what the County Health Rankings report helps us to visualize with at-your-fingertips measures that paint the picture of the social and economic conditions that directly influence health disparities.


Closer to home, the Waco RoundTable platform hosted by Prosper Waco, provides hyperlocal data and metrics to put Waco’s entire social, economic, education, and health ecosystem into perspective. This is our tool to better understand the factors and community dynamics – like homeownership, household income, unemployment, access to healthy foods, walkability and other conditions – that lead to differences in health.


The County Health Rankings & Roadmaps offers data and recommended strategies for action. This resource and Waco RoundTable are powerful tools that help propel our work in building an environment where all members of Greater Waco community can thrive.


Tiffiney Gray was senior content specialist for health with Prosper Waco when this blog was posted.