Medicine

Do you live in one of the healthiest Maryland counties?

Do you live in one of the healthiest Maryland counties?

"It attracts good companies", said Dr. John Morrow, Pitt County Health Director.

But even top-ranking counties like Saratoga don't sit back. In 2018, the county ranked eighth among the state's 100 counties in this category, moving up from last year's 10th spot.

Race and ethnicity do play a role in how healthy a county is.

An easy-to-use snapshot that compares counties within states, the rankings show that where you live influences how well and how long you live.

"Opportunities with regard to health are not equal across groups", said Trujillo.

According to the 2018 Rankings, the five healthiest counties in MS, starting with most healthy, are Rankin County, followed by DeSoto County, Madison County, Lamar County and Lafayette County. The Institute leads the work on the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps and the RWJF Culture of Health Prize. Conversely, Washington County showed a dramatic improvement from a 28 state ranking a year ago to 17 in 2018; and Essex County improved from 32 in 2017 to 20 in 2018.

Lamar County has been named No. 4 in the healthiest counties in MS, according to the ninth annual County Health Rankings released Wednesday by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

Proctor says Indiana's overall poor health factors are related to poor health outcomes.

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The report provides data for communities to guide policy change that could help close health gaps. She was pleased with the improvement in the county's assessment. This year Fayette County ranks at the bottom. According to the county health rankings, that percentage has dropped from 19 percent in 2008 to 8 percent in 2015.

"Throughout the nation, significant disparities exist in socioeconomic opportunities", researchers report.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, used education, jobs, children living in poverty as well as access to health care providers, and obesity rates to come up with their findings.

Challenges in this region include obesity, illegal drug use, alcohol and tobacco use. About 18% of adult Delawareans smoke and 32% are considered overweight.

"We can't rest on our laurels just because we came down a bit on the adult population, because those children are going to be adults in a few years", he said. "Smoking is weighted heavily because of the associated health outcomes".

"That's very important because smoking is the No. 1 cause of preventable death and disability for us", Morrow said.

The rankings aren't flawless, and health officials always caution (with justification) that they should be taken with a grain of salt - or, in some cases, an entire salt lick. "And we can look hard at them and start from there".