Frederick County, Maryland ranked third best in the state for health outcomes in 2013 health rankings. This finding was included in results of a nationwide study released in March by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health institute; the study examined 25 factors that influence health in each county across the United States. Howard and Montgomery Counties were the only ones in the state that ranked higher than Frederick.
County health department reports indicate that during fiscal 2012, 540 women received clinical breast exams, cervical cancer screening, and mammograms, and 103 people were screened for colon cancer. These services were included in the $28 million in health care provided by county, state, and federal funds. The study showed that 5,126 people per 100,000 died in Frederick County before age 75 years from 2008 to 2010 compared to the state’s statistics of 6,865 per 100,000 people. The county had 218 reported cases of chlamydia per 100,000 population compared to the state’s 454 cases per 100,000 average. Also, from 2004 to 2010, the birth rate for girls aged 15 to 19 years was 23 births per 100,000 female population compared to the state’s average of 32 births per 100,000 for the same age group.
Dr. Barbara Brookmyer, head of the Frederick County Health Department, acknowledged that even with the high ranking, there are areas for improvement, including adult smoking and adult obesity. The health department is working with other county agencies and community groups to fight obesity with programs that encourage healthy eating habits and events to encourage residents to exercise. The health department provides free smoking cessation classes and sponsors a free youth club that promotes healthy living. Additional opportunities for improvement in the county include reducing the number of low birth-weight infants and the percentage of uninsured people. Brookmyer said that areas for improvement will be examined as part of its Community Health Assessment, which is in the process of being revised. The assessment should be completed in June.