S.E. Colorado Gets Health Report Card


Caren Henderson

The good news is Coloradoans are the least obese people in the nation.  The bad news is that we’re starting to catch up to the rest of the country, not the other way around.  Emily King with the Colorado Health Institute and Caren Henderson with the Colorado Health Foundation presented those findings, and others, during a health oriented seminar for various medical professionals in Prowers County, sponsored by LiveWell Prowers County, on Wednesday, May 2. 

The Colorado Health Report Card tracked 38 health indicators that span the life of Colorado residents, from newborns to senior citizens.  These rankings are updated annually and compared to the other 49 states to provide a general overview and to set goals for improved lifestyles for all Americans.  Colorado had been the only state listed where the obesity rate was below 20% for all residents, a first place position that ended two years ago when we went from 19% to 22%.  The southeast Colorado region has a general obesity rate of 28%, the second highest in the state, following the northeast corner of Colorado.  Adult exercise activities has southeast Colorado ranked lowest compared to the other regions.  Child age obesity is also higher than the state average in our region. 


Emily King Highlights Health Results


Henderson noted two health areas from early life stages that affect a person throughout the rest of their lives.  The first is a drop in the number of child immunizations between 2008 and 2010, and Colorado ranks 48 out of 50 states in the number of vaccine refusals, or the second highest in the country.  Colorado is also low on healthy teeth; as the listing of water fluoridation treatments is lower than average.  Financially translated, every dollar spent on health prevention measures saves $38 in treatment costs.  For Colorado, for dental care alone, that translates to $46.6 million. 

Three other measurements for our region brought mixed results, as our mental health index is better than the state average at 12.4% compared to 13.5%, binge drinking is also lower than the state average at 10.6% to 15.9%, but tobacco use is higher at 21.5% compared to the adult rating of 16.9% for the rest of the state.

 Rated like a report card, the various five life health states had a C for newborn age children, C- for children, B- for adolescents, B for adults and a B for older citizens.  Each group was also rated with various sub-categories.

By Russ Baldwin


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