MD Health Has Its Ups and Down

marylandHelpupanddownThe health of Maryland residents, like the much of the United States, did not improve significantly during the past year. That's the outcome from the yearly rankings compiled by the United Health Foundation (a not-for-profit organization founded by insurance giant, United Health Group), the American Public Health Association, and Partnership for Prevention. At the end of 2011, the health of Maryland residents had an overall ranking of 22nd in the nation. We were ranked 21st in 2010 for overall health—clearly, we're headed in the wrong direction.

We rank 40th in the nation for air pollution, 32nd for cancer deaths, and 35th for cardiovascular deaths (both were measured as deaths per 100,000 population). Unfortunately, violent crime (we ranked 43rd), and infectious disease cases (35th) still remain very high.

The most disturbing rankings involve very young children. Maryland children rank a dismal 30th for immunization coverage for those ages 19-35 months, 43rd for infant mortality (8 deaths per 1,000 live births), and 43rd for low birth-weight babies.

Maryland has serious challenges when it comes to chronic diseases, too. Nearly one-third of Maryland's adult population struggles with high blood pressure, and more than one-third have problems with high cholesterol.

It wasn't all gloomy, however. Maryland ranked high when it came to early prenatal care, a low teen-birth rate, a low percentage of folks without health insurance, and a low percentage of children living in poverty. We have the third highest median household income ($64,025), and the second highest number of primary care physicians. We certainly do enjoy our fruits and vegetables, ranking sixth in terms of diet, and few of us would say we're in poor health. Most Maryland residents do not smoke and the overwhelming majority of us get a dental exam every year.

In case you're planning to relocate, according to this survey, the top five healthiest states are: Vermont (1), New Hampshire, Connecticut, Hawaii, and Massachusetts (5). The bottom five spots belonged to: Alabama (46), Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Mississippi (50).

For more information, visit http://statehealthstats.americashealthrankings.org/#/state/US/MD/2011.