Washington County health measures lag during pandemic | WDVM25 and DCW50

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HAGERSTOWN, Maryland (WDVM) — The pandemic has posed challenges to staying healthy, with so much disruption to our lifestyles. And Washington County, Maryland, dropped in health metrics rankings. But there is a plan to improve that.

The county was ranked 12th in the state. He is now ranked 18th. Among the 23 counties in Maryland and the city of Baltimore, Washington County – until two years ago was in the middle of the pack according to an assessment of community health needs. But since the pandemic, these health indicators have been declining.

“Some of the things that really stand out when you look at the assessment are the decreased life expectancy,” said Maria Rubeling, CEO of YMCA Hagerstown. “Our overweight and obesity numbers are up 38%, or almost 40%. That’s 4 out of 10 people.”

Diabetes rates have also increased, and community leaders like the YMCA are taking the lead in getting people to adopt healthier lifestyles.

“It’s going to be like a point system where you can earn points for healthy behavior,” said Colleen Gildee of YMCA Hagerstown. “From logging your food to 20 minutes of exercise to meditation, we try to incorporate it all for an overall picture of wellness.”

The Y will work with businesses in the community to participate. “There will be something that can challenge everyone,” Gildee said. “So we hope that will increase participation.”

Starting with an achievable goal will mean the success of the “Go for Bold” campaign.

“We’re not asking people to lose 100 pounds,” Rubeling said. “We’re not asking people to lose 50 pounds. It’s really just an average of 10 pounds per person. A little more, a little less if you average.

Rubeling and Gildee’s advice: take the initiative to live a healthier life now. Rubeling predicts even a slight improvement in the assessment of the following health parameters can be a stepping stone to reversing the downward trend in Washington County.

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