How Healthy Is Your County?

A new report ranks and compares U.S. counties and cities based on health factors. Read on to see how local counties stacked up.

By: Emily Leaman

The 2011 County Health Rankings, a collaborative effort between the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, were released today. So how did your county fair?

According the report—which ranks cities and counties based on a variety of factors such as mortality and high-school-graduation rates, health habits, and access to healthcare—Howard, Montgomery, and Frederick counties are the healthiest in Maryland. Fairfax, Arlington, and Loudoun counties take the cake in Virginia. Prince George’s County is ranked 17 out of 24 counties in Maryland. And the lowest-ranked county in Northern Virginia is Fauquier at 22 out of 132.

But look closer. Virginia’s highest overall ranked county, Fairfax, came in dead last on physical-environment factors, such as air quality and pollution. Frederick County, ranked third in Maryland, came in at 16 for its apparent limited access to healthy foods.

Researchers also compiled numbers for the District this year, and some are rather telling. For example, did you know that 58 percent of DC kids are eligible for the free-lunch program at DC public schools? And that 20 percent of adults reported having at least one episode of excessive drinking within the last 30 days? Thirteen percent of adults in DC are uninsured (that's on par with the national benchmark), and 21 percent have a body-mass index of 30 or greater, putting them in the obese category.

Go here to see the rankings for yourself and to play around with the interactive map.

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