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Study: Howard Healthiest County In Md., Baltimore City Least Healthy

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BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The rankings are out and two counties in Maryland took the top and bottom spot when it comes to being the healthiest.

Monique Griego has more on how the lists were determined.

Druid Hill Park joggers might be surprised to know they’re pounding the pavement in the state’s unhealthiest area.

“It does not surprise me at all,” said one.

According to the 2012 county health rankings, at #24, Baltimore City is the unhealthiest spot in Maryland. Allegany and Dorchester round out the bottom three.

“I see a lot of people walking their dogs and jogging, so I’m surprised,” said one person.

As for healthiest, Howard County took the top spot with Montgomery and Queen Anne’s close behind.

“They’re looking at a combination of socioeconomic factors like income and education, which Howard County is clearly going to rank high on,” said Dr. Peter Beilenson, Howard County Health Department.

The study looks at several factors, including the access to health care, the number of premature births, healthy food options and the rate of unhealthy habits like drinking and smoking.

“We’ve done things that you’ve covered—healthy restaurants, healthy workplaces, healthy schools,” Beilsenson said.

Health leaders in Baltimore City also have a plan, but say unemployment and poverty can hold things back.

“These social determinants of health are what make it more challenging in Baltimore City than Howard County to really make significant inroads to improving health outcomes,” said Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot.

Despite the rankings, many people say that they feel Baltimore City is headed in the right direction health-wise.

“I think it’s definitely going to climb, be on the rise,” said one.

The county rankings were done by the University of Wisconsin Health Institute and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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