Report Says Frederick County Ranks High In Health Behaviors

But it still has a problem with obesity and chronic disease.


Frederick, Md (KM)> When it comes to health behaviors, length of life and economic factors, Frederick County ranks number three in Maryland. That’;s according to a report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Health Institute.

The report says that county residents are physically active. “We’ve done a lot of work recently in our access to exercise opportunities. We’ve got a lot of great parks. We know that from our city and county parks,” says Rissa Watkins, Director of Planning, Assessment and Communications for the Frederick County Health Department.

The Study also shows the county has  low alcohol-related driving deaths, low teenage birth rates, a small number of uninsured residents and fewer preventable hospital stays. Other factors the study identified these social and economic factors as strengths: the high rate of high school graduations; larger number of adults who have some college; lower rates of children in poverty; and low rates of income inequality.

Watkins says Frederick County has made progress in reducing smoking. “We’re actually in the top 10% of all of the different counties in the country ranking for adult smoking. So we;re very proud of the efforts we’ve made there,” she says.

But the county still needs to make improvements to the rates of obesity and chronic diseases, such as diabetes and hearth disease. “We’re working very hard with our health care provider community to educate our doctors, to educate the community about ways we can be healthier overall,” says Watkins.

But Watkins acknowledges it’s not easy sticking to a diet and exercise regime in order to reduce weight. But she says there are small steps we can take. “Make healthier eating choices; take the stairs instead of the elevator; walk around the building; take some movement breaks,” she says. “Make those small changes and you’ll start feeling a difference.”

“We really take this opportunity to focus on these different health measures, to bring them to light, to have these discussions, so that people can remember that these things are real and happening in our community and that these things affect all of us,” Watkins says.

In the health behaviors report, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ranks Montgomery and Howard Counties as numbers  one and two respectively. Carroll County is number four followed by Talbot County. Washington County ranks number 19.


By Kevin McManus