NM Health Officials Say Southeast Least Healthy

SANTA FE, N.M. – They blame lower income and education levels, more adult smokers and higher rates of chronic disease.

In general, Bernalillo County has the best health in New Mexico.

State Department of Health officials say that's because of higher income levels, education levels and health care coverage in the area, which includes Albuquerque.

State Health Secretary Dr. Catherine Torres says the department regularly looks at various health issues to target prevention programs where they're needed most.

Health officials say the southeastern region had the highest death rate in 2009. Bernalillo County had the lowest.

The southeast region includes Chaves, Curry, DeBaca, Eddy, Harding, Lea, Quay and Roosevelt counties.