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Baltimore remains the least healthy place in Maryland, Montgomery the most in latest annual ranking

Baltimore City remains the least healthy jurisdiction in Maryland and Montgomery County is the healthiest, according to the latest ranking from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute.

The groups take an annual look at drivers of health, going beyond access to health care and life expectancy, to include such measures as housing costs and children living in poverty. The top and bottom of the rankings in Maryland have changed little in recent years.

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The report’s authors say it shows that a lack of safe and affordable homes is tied to poor health. Among the findings: 64 percent of children living in poverty in Maryland were in a household that spends more than half of its income on housing. They conclude that the families can’t always afford healthy food, medicine or transportation to work and school.

The healthiest Maryland counties after Montgomery were Howard, Frederick, Carroll and St. Mary’s. The least healthy after Baltimore were Somerset, Dorchester, Caroline and Allegany.

Other Baltimore area counties were middle of the pack -- Anne Arundel and Harford were ranked 8th and 10th respectively and Baltimore County was ranked 13th.

For the rankings, the authors assessed each county’s health outcomes including quality and length of life, health factors such as levels of obesity and smoking, drug and alcohol use, access and quality of health care, levels of employment and education, safety, pollution and housing.

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