Factors such as obesity and health insurance contributed to Prince George’s County being ranked 15th in the state in a study that looked at the health of residents and ranked counties across the United States based on a broad range of health-related criteria. The study, which was done by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps, was released earlier in the week.
Researchers looked at health within counties by examining health behavior, clinical care, social and economic factors as well as the physical environment, according to a press release. The rankings also take into account the number of fast food restaurants in a community, as well as how physically active or inactive residents are.
Among Maryland's 24 counties, Prince George’s came in at No. 15 in part because of its percentage of adult obesity, 34 percent. That was higher than both the statewide incidence of adult obesity, 28 percent, and the national rate for adult obesity, 25 percent, according to the study.
The county also has a higher than average percentage of residents without health insurance—16 percent of Prince George's residents lack health insurance compared to 13 percent statewide and 11 percent nationally. In Howard County, ranked No. 1 in Maryland by the study, the rate of uninsured was just 8 percent.
Another area where Prince George's lagged was in the ratio of physicians to residents. The county has a physician-to-patient ratio of 1-to-1,077, according to the study. In contrast, Howard County, ranked the healthiest in the state, has a ratio of primary care physicians to residents of 1-to-391. Statewide, the ratio was 1-to-631.
Fewer adults smoke, are physically inactive and are involved in deadly crashes in Howard County than in other parts of Maryland or the nation, according to the study.
A sampling of other county rankings in Maryland: Montgomery County was ranked No. 2 in the state, Carroll County was No. 5, Anne Arundel was No. 10, Baltimore County was No. 13 and Baltimore City was No. 24.