BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A freshly released study shows the overall health of Marylanders is improving but, as Mike Schuh reports, there’s a lot of room for even more.

This year, the health of Maryland improved five spots, up to the 19th healthiest state in the country.

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“I’m surprised it’s not higher,” said Margaret Mary Stein.

While our diet isn’t the best, we’re doing other things right. Our strengths include fewer smokers, fewer children in poverty and access to many doctors.

This study from the United Health Foundation shows nationwide obesity is up. Its shadow, diabetes, is also climbing. But neither are bad here.

A look at our neighbors should make us feel good. We’re 19 and Pennsylvania is 30. Delaware is 29, West Virginia is 48 and Virginia is 28.

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Our weaknesses are high violent crime, high infant mortality and air pollution.

A lifelong East Baltimore resident says a better economy would cut the amount of violence.

“People need jobs. Some people want to work. Probably some of the drug dealers on the corner and the panhandlers wouldn’t be out there if they had jobs,” said Carlos Johnston.

“The violence I know we definitely can do something about that. We can find better ways of living together,” said Ethel Sutherland.

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By the way, Mississippi and Vermont tied for 49th. The healthiest state is Vermont.