Health & Science

Texans feel state should invest in non-medical solutions that affect health, survey shows

Experts say so-called social determinants of health play a major role in overall well-being and are often ignored or downplayed.

A new survey finds two-thirds of Texans say the state should invest more in finding solutions for non-medical factors that affect health.

The survey by the Houston-based Episcopal Health Foundation focused on factors like unemployment, safe housing, affordable food and air pollution as non-medical drivers of health.

“Focusing upstream would allow us to spend less money, improve health outcomes, and not be stuck simply responding to individuals being sick,” Episcopal Health Foundation president and CEO Dr. Ann Barnes said.

Experts say so-called social determinants of health play a major role in overall well-being and are often ignored or downplayed.

“If we are not focusing on non-medical drivers of health, then we are missing an opportunity to focus on the 80% of circumstances in a person’s life that really affect their health,” Dr. Barnes said.

The survey polled 1200 Texas adults and also found more than half said health insurance should cover non-medical factors that often affect health, including exercise programs and home remediation.

Nearly 75% of those surveyed think doctors should ask patients about non-medical factors when consulting them about their overall health.

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Jack Williams

Executive Producer for Daily News

Jack is back in Houston after some time away working in public radio and television in Lincoln, Nebraska. Before leaving for the Midwest, he worked in various roles at Houston Public Media from 2000-2016, including reporting, hosting and anchoring. Jack has also worked in commercial news radio in Houston, Austin...

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