COLUMBIA, Md. (WJZ)—For the second year in a row, Howard County has been named the healthiest place in Maryland. The ranking is part of a report released Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Mary Bubala has more.
The news is good for the man in charge of Howard County’s health, Dr. Peter Beilenson, Howard County Health Commissioner.
“We’re very pleased,” he said. “Obviously, we pride ourselves on having a model public health community.”
The report looks at a wide array of factors, including mammography and diabetic screening, smoking and drinking rates, the number of primary care providers, air pollution days and access to healthy food.
According to the report, Howard County does many things right, including certifying 75 restaurants as healthy.
Koko’s Carryout in Columbia is certified. Many of its sandwiches come on whole wheat bread, and the salad bar is stocked with vegetables and other healthy food like fruit and sushi.
“I always try to eat healthy,” said Kurt Byler, Koko’s customer. “I’ve got a turkey sandwich and I got something to drink that’s low sugar and something to eat with it that’s not just potato chips.”
And Byler walked to and from his lunch destination from his workplace– something that’s encouraged in Howard County. It’s part of the Healthy Howard Initiative that sets the bar for restaurants, workplaces and schools to be healthy.
“The criteria for healthy schools are healthy vending machines, healthy alternatives in cafeteria –same for workplaces and for restaurants,” Dr. Beilenson said. “We specifically require products to be trans-fat free, but for there to be nutritional analysis of menu items that are considered to be healthy.”
Howard County also says its ban on tanning salons for anyone under 18 is a part of its healthy initiatives.
On the bottom of the list is Baltimore City, ranking the unhealthiest place in Maryland.