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How Healthy is Maryland? Answer May Be Surprising

Who wins—Maryland or Virginia? A new study has the answer.

Maryland has risen in U.S. state health rankings, according to data recently released by the United Health Foundation.

Coming in as the United States' 19th healthiest state in 2012, Maryland beat out neighboring states of Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virgina in terms of healthier residents. In 2011, Maryland came in at No. 24.

According to the announcement:

This year’s report finds that, similar to every other state, Maryland has its share of strengths and challenges.

Maryland’s Strengths:

  • Low prevalence of smoking – Ranked 11th, 19.1 percent of adult population
  • Low percentage of children in poverty – Ranked 2nd, 11.3 percent of persons under age 18             
  • Ready availability of primary care physicians – Ranked 2nd, 173.8 per 100,000 population

Maryland’s Challenges:

  • High violent crime rate – Ranked 43rd, 548 offenses per 100,000 population
  • High prevalence of low birthweight – Ranked 38th, 8.8 percent of live births
  • High infant mortality rates – Ranked 41st, 7.6 deaths per 1,000 live births
  • High levels of air pollution – Ranked 40th, 10.9 micrograms of fine particles per cubic meter

Vermont was listed as the healthiest state for the sixth straight year, while Mississippi and Louisiana tied for last.

Read more about the rankings here.

What do you think of Maryland's placement? Should it be higher or lower? Tell us in the comments!

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