National Health Rankings Show Baltimore City Making Progress on Teen Births, Adult Smoking, Preventable Hospital Stays

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National Health Rankings Show Baltimore City Making Progress on Teen Births, Adult Smoking, Preventable Hospital Stays

“County Health Rankings & Roadmaps” shows important gains on key measures in Healthy Baltimore 2015; City health officials note more work ahead to increase overall health of residents

BALTIMORE, MD (March 26, 2014)  – Steady progress has been noted in the health of Baltimore City residents in certain key indicators, according to the 2014 County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, released today by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and available at www.countyhealthrankings.org.

Several health categories continued a decline between the 2010 and 2014 reports signaling steady progress toward the goals put forth in Healthy Baltimore 2015, the City’s comprehensive health policy agenda.

  • The teen birth rate (females age 15-19) dropped from 74 per 1,000 live births in 2010 to 66 per 1,000 live births.
  • The percentage of babies born at low birthweight (less than 2,500 grams) decreased to 12.5%.
  • The percentage of adults who currently smoke and have smoked at least 100 cigarettes decreased from 26 percent in 2010 to 25 percent in 2013.
  • The rate of preventable hospital stays decreased to 76 per 1,000 Medicare enrollees in 2013 from 95 per 1,000 in 2010.

“The Healthy Baltimore 2015 Initiative has guided significant improvements in making Baltimore a much healthier city,” said Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake. “We are definitely not where we want to be, but the progress made foreshadows what is yet to come. We will continue to make necessary investments to realize a healthier Baltimore.”

“We’ve made strides as a city to improve the health of our residents, and this report shows that we’re moving in the right direction in many categories,” said Commissioner of Health Oxiris Barbot, M.D. “But our health ranking compared to other Maryland counties is a call to action. We must continue the partnerships and comprehensive policy approaches outlined in Healthy Baltimore 2015 in order to continue improving the overall health conditions for residents.”

Improvements on other individual indicators show movement toward meeting key city health goals:

  • Violent crime rates dropped for the fifth consecutive year, from 1,692 crimes per 100,000 citizens reported in 2010 to 1,485 violent crimes per 100,000 reported in 2014, a decrease of 12 percent.
  • The years of potential life lost from individuals dying before the age of 75 years decreased from 15,285 reported in 2010 to 13,272 reported in 2014.

However, Baltimore City continues to have significant issues affecting the quality of life and health experience of its citizens.   Out of the 24 Maryland counties, the City ranked 24th overall on both mortality and morbidity indicators, which is where it has remained since the 2010 report:

  • The percent of adults who self-report a Body Mass Index that classifies them as obese is 33%, compared with 28% at the state level.
  • The percentage of seniors without health insurance remains nearly steady in the 2014 report at 15%, marking a significant barrier for older adults to access needed health care.
  • Nearly 20 percent of adults continue to report poor or fair health reported in 2014, a figure which did not change since the 2013 report.

The County Health Rankings rank the overall health of every state and nearly every county in all states. The Rankings allow counties to see how they compare to other counties within the state as well as to the state overall, based on a range of factors that influence health ranging from education, air/water quality, health risk behaviors, and family and social support.

The Rankings are one part of the County Health Rankings & Roadmaps program. Communities are taking information from the County Health Rankings and using the County Health Roadmaps to build connections with local and national partners to improve health.

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