When it comes to their health, Marylanders are above average.
The state ranked 19th in the nation in overall health, according to an annual report, ďAmericaís Health Rankings,Ē released Tuesday by the United Health Foundation.
Thatís a few notches up from last year, when Maryland ranked No. 24 in the nation.
Just more than 19 percent of Marylandís adults are smokers, below the national average of 21.3 percent. Only 11.3 percent of Maryland children live in poverty — the second-lowest rate in the country.
Still, the report found that Maryland also faces major health challenges. These include a high infant mortality rate, with 7.6 deaths per 1,000 live births, putting Maryland at No. 41 in the nation. The state also has high rates of violent crime, with 548 offenses per 100,000 Marylanders — 43rd in the nation.
Maryland also ranks No. 40 in air pollution levels, according to the report.
In addition, obesity among adult Marylanders is climbing, up to 9.3 percent from 6.4 percent a decade ago. However, that still leaves Maryland far below the national adult obesity rate of 27.8 percent.
Data in the report, published by the United Health Foundation, the American Public Health Association and the Partnership for Prevention, come from federal health agencies, the Census Bureau and the American Medical Association.
The five healthiest states are Vermont, Hawaii, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Minnesota. Mississippi and Louisiana tied for last place for overall health.