Colorado still the least obese state
State also lowest in diabetes prevalence
DENVER — Colorado is the seventh-healthiest state according to United Health Foundation’s annual health rankings, released today. The index ranks Colorado as the least obese state and lowest in diabetes prevalence.
"Colorado is a vibrant state with a population that values physical activity and wellness,” said Gov. John Hickenlooper. “The index provides an important marker on our way to becoming the healthiest state in the nation.”
Colorado also ranked second in physical activity, second in lowest percentage of children living in poverty and had the second-fewest cancer and cardiovascular deaths. The 2017 report looks at 35 measures covering behaviors, community and environment, policy, clinical care and outcomes data.
Dr. Larry Wolk, executive director and chief medical officer at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said, “The health of individuals depends on all sectors working together to promote policies and activities that support health. From jobs that provide a living wage and health insurance, to zoning and land use planning that creates healthy neighborhoods and areas for recreation, health is everybody's business.”
The annual ranking identified many positives about the health of Coloradans, but it also showed areas in need of improvement. While the state still ranks as least obese, the adult obesity rate increased from 20.2 percent in 2016 to 22.3 percent in 2017 ― a 10 percent increase. In addition, the report showed a large disparity in health status based on educational attainment, as well as a high incidence of pertussis.
Wolk said, “It is impossible for every Coloradan to thrive when there are health disparities based on education, race or income level. These issues are multifaceted and require all state agenicies to partner in our work to decrease these disparities.”
The state health department works with communities, local public health agencies and statewide partners to reduce obesity by supporting safe, easy access to healthy food and physical activity in neighborhoods, day care centers, schools, worksites and hospitals. It supports state initiatives to improve and expand bike and pedestrian infrastructure and national efforts to promote walking and walkable communities.
Whooping cough (pertussis) continues to be a challenge for Colorado. In 2016 and 2017, approximately 600 cases occurred each year, but that is lower than 2014, when there were more than 1,200 cases. The pertussis rate fluctuates from year to year because the disease occurs in cycles, but it is a vaccine-preventable disease. The department continues to encourage vaccination as a safe and effective tool against pertussis.
“We appreciate the many state and local public health partners that focus on keeping Coloradans healthy,” said Wolk.