Ector County's Health is Getting Worse

By Jen Kastner
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND/ODESSA- Expanding waistlines, binge drinking and teen pregnancy. Those are just some of the health problems getting worse in Ector County. County health ranking results have been released, and the numbers are startling.

When it comes to being healthy, Ector County now ranks 191 out of 221 statewide counties, putting it in the 86th percentile. Health officials say those figures aren't anything to be proud of.

"We are becoming more and more unhealthy as a county," Gino Solla, Director of the Ector County Health Department, said.

A rise in STD's and the teen birth rate are the most concerning behaviors, says the health department. Also, a growing number of patients are without health insurance. Violent crimes are up and more people are packing on the pounds.

It begs the question, why is Ector County so unhealthy?

Solla says, "I think it's the population increase and I think it's the type of population increase."

He tells us the oil boom is bringing in a new demographic.

"We are a county that is mostly attracting the hands-on worker-type and I don't know if they put too much of a value on education. Education is really the nucleus to making a healthier community."

Midland County ranks 25 out of 221 Texas counties, putting it in the 11th percentile, making it significantly healthier than Ector County.

Midland Health and Senior Services Manager Celestino Garcia says, "We can always improve but those are good [numbers]."

He says the numbers could be lower if it wasn't for the population boom.

"Once we get those people into our system and into our programs, I think we'll get better," Garcia said.

Some of Midland's biggest concerns are STD's and pregnant teens.

Both counties actually consume more fast food than the average in Texas and in the nation.

Garcia says, "Our economy is fast-paced. We have both mom and dad working."

Which leaves little time for a home-cooked meal.

Why is Midland County so much healthier? Experts say it's people are better-educated and practice more preventative medicine.