It's time to add another accolade to Howard County's long list: U.S. News and World Report has named the county one of the healthiest in the nation for kids.
Howard ranked 13 out of the top 50 counties featured in the story, which looked at a variety of factors, including rates of infant death, death from injuries, teen births, children in poverty, air quality, adult smoking, adult obesity and access to physicians and exercise opportunities.
The report cited health initiatives by County Executive Ken Ulman, including a ban on smoking in local parks, a law banning minors from using tanning beds and the county's Heathy Howard program.
“For the last eight years, we have implemented many innovative programs and strategies that have allowed our residents to see the benefits of making healthy choices,” Ulman said in a statement about the ranking. “Whether it’s fighting childhood obesity or teaching our children how to make healthy food choices as early as their pre-school years, we strive to become the model public health community and appreciate the recognition."
Howard's neighbor to the south and west, Montgomery County, was the only other Maryland jurisdiction to make the list, with a 20th-place ranking.