The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute published the first annual County Health Ranking Report in 2010.
The Report gives communities a snapshot of how healthy their residents are so they can see where they are doing well, where they need to improve, and then act together to remove barriers to good health.
The rankings are based on several factors that affect a community's health:
Frederick County ranked 3rd in Maryland for Health Behaviors, as well as in length of life, and social & economic factors.
The County Health Rankings report highlighted many areas of strength in Frederick County, such as access to exercise opportunities, low teen births, low percentage of uninsured residents, as well as social and economic factors such as high school graduation, college, children in poverty and income inequality.
While Frederick County’s overall rank is very favorable, the report also identified adult obesity, sexually transmitted infections, and mammogram screening as areas to explore for improvement. Additional opportunities include reducing alcohol-impaired driving deaths. Excessive or binge drinking in the past 30 days was reported by 18% of Frederick County adults and is a current focus of improvement efforts of the Behavioral Health Services Division of the Frederick County Health Department.
Frederick County once again ranked 3rd best in overall health rankings and 3rd best for health health factors. Health behaviors and clinical care remained at 3rd best and 10th best again while there was improvement in social and economic factors to a ranking of 3rd and a worsening in the rank for the physical environment to a rank of 17th.
Frederick is back to 3rd best after a temporary dip last year to 4th best overall health outcomes and maintained at 3rd best for health factors 2 years in a row and maintained 4th best for health behaviors for 4 years.
When looking at mortality, Frederick County's rank remained stable as 3rd most favorable county, but when looking at morbidity our rank changed from 4th to 5th partly due to an increase in babies born with low birth weights and adults reporting being in fair to poor health.
In the area of health behaviors that can be modified to reduce premature death and disability, we see that adult smoking percentages decreased while binge drinking and adult obesity percentages remained stable.
Despite improvement in diabetic screening rates and numbers of uninsured persons, the rank for clinical care dipped from 8th to 10th position in 2013. The drop may be partly explained by a drop in the mammography screening rates. The availability of primary care physicians also dropped from the 2012 to the 2013 rankings which contributed to the drop in rank.
Social and economic factors have remained relatively stable over the last 4 years in the 4th best position.
The greatest improvement in rank occurred in the physical environment which improved from 16th to 12th best. This improvement was supported by increased access to recreational facilities and by decreased areas with limited access to healthy foods according to the data sources used. The percent of restaurants that are fast food restaurants increased from 56% to 58%.
Frederick County’s current rank is 4th overall in Maryland for Health Outcomes, down from 3rd best where we were for the first 2 years the comparison reports were available. Nevertheless, 4th best in the state is a good position even though we know that not all persons and population groups are experiencing the same level of relatively good health outcomes. The overall Health Outcomes rank is calculated based upon mortality and morbidity.
Frederick County improved its position by moving from the position 4th best for the first 2 years it was reported to 3rd best in Maryland for Health Factors in 2012. Health Factors rank calculation encompass health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment. The Health Factors may be of greater interest to potential new businesses looking at Frederick County.
Frederick County's rank improved in Health Behaviors compared to the 2010 report as we moved from 6th in the state to 4th best and improved in clinical care by moving from 7th place to 6th place. The largest contributors to the improvement were seen in diet and exercise, alcohol use and access to care. The rank for Social and Economic Factors declined from 3rd to 4th place and the rank for Physical Environment did not change from the 2010 report to the 2011 report.