What comes to mind when you think “Colorado?” Skiing perhaps? Or maybe hiking and biking through the pristine Rockies? The Centennial State often conjures mental images of an active, outdoorsy population, which would seemingly translate to a healthy population. And in many ways it does.
According to this year’s America’s Health Rankings, conducted by the United Health Foundation, Colorado ranks #1 in the obesity category, meaning we are the state with the thinnest collective waistband. We also do very well for diabetes, ranking #2 out of 50 states. Another strength includes our low levels of air pollution, which together with the aforementioned rankings, are good enough for #9 overall, a jump from #13 in 2010.
Not too shabby, all things considered, but there is of course room for improvement. Some things that are currently counting against the state include low use of early prenatal care, high geographic disparity, and low immunization coverage. And even though Colorado has the lowest obesity rate, there are still 814,000 adults who are considered obese, an increase of 360,000 people in the last 10 years.
The rankings, in case you were wondering, are determined by looking at 23 measures, which are considered either a determinant or an outcome. A determinant “represents those actions that can affect the future health of the population, whereas outcomes represent what has already occurred.” Determinants are divided into four groups: Behaviors, Community & Environment, Public & Health Policies and Clinical Care. These groups influence the health outcomes of the population in a state, and improving these numbers will lead to better outcomes over time, at least according to the Foundation.
For more information on how rankings are determined, along with in-depth details on Colorado, visit America’s Health Rankings site and/or download the PDF below.
- Full State Report (PDF | 444KB)