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Uncovering America's methamphetamine history; PA Early Intervention programs vital for child development; measuring long-term impact of the O.J. Simpson trial on media literacy.

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President Biden's name could be left off the ballot in Alabama and Ohio, the Justice Dept. mandates background checks for gun show purchases, and Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds moves to allow state police to arrest undocumented migrants.

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Housing advocates fear rural low-income folks who live in aging USDA housing could be forced out, small towns are eligible for grants to enhance civic participation, and North Carolina's small and Black-owned farms are helped by new wind and solar revenues.

Report ranks Maryland 11th in health of women, children

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Monday, November 6, 2023   

A new report covering women's and children's health shows Maryland is doing well overall, but some concerning trends have emerged.

The 2023 Health of Women and Children Report released by the United Health Foundation ranked Maryland 11th nationally, with improving numbers around infant mortality, and a more than 40% drop in cigarette smoking among women 18 to 44.

The report also looked at nonmedical factors affecting health outcomes. Among those, Maryland has relatively high numbers of women who are unemployed, and many face a high housing cost burden.

Mia Smith-Bynum, professor and chair of the Department of Family Science at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, said when life stresses are combined, they often lead to health problems.

"The more stress that is on that head of household, the more that it's going to show up in their health crises long term," Smith-Bynum explained. "It may not happen in year one of that stress, it may not happen in year two, but year six, seven, eight; that's when you're going to start to see the chronic impacts of all of these pressures."

Nationally, the report found depression and frequent mental distress increased among adult women. Maryland saw a 47% increase in firearm deaths among women 20 to 44 between 2016 and 2021. Smith-Bynum sees the large increases as being connected to a wider sense of desperation.

"When I look at this, and I see what's happening in the country, particularly with respect to mental health, the social isolation, people are dealing with a lot of distress," Smith-Bynum observed. "The way that the economy has continued to change, people are feeling more desperate than what we've typically seen in prior decades."

The report also showed a 21% increase in poverty among children between 2018 and 2021. Researchers looked at 122 measurements from 34 different data sources.


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