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Informing Policy. Advancing Health.

Behind the Screen or Behind Home Plate?

Colorado is famous for its hiking trails and bike paths, but the state’s teenagers are more likely to be found in front of a video screen.
Date last upated: April 8, 2015

On any given day, more than half of Colorado teens spend three hours parked in front of a computer screen. Just 49.1 percent of teens said they were physically active for at least one hour on five or more of the past seven days.

And less than half – 46 percent – of high school students attend at least one physical education class a week, and only 20 percent walk, bike, scooter or skateboard to school.

“Extra Credit: Get Active,” a Data Spotlight from the Colorado Health Report Card, sheds light on physical activity habits across the state. This report, issued by the Colorado Health Foundation in partnership with the Colorado Health Institute, highlights barriers to physical activity. It also discusses public health efforts to promote increased activity among Coloradans of all ages.

While Coloradans are often viewed as very active, that’s not always true. 

Although about half of Colorado teens report exercising for an hour on most days, this figure masks some disparities. Only 40 percent of teenage girls report one hour of physical activity on most days, compared with 57.7 percent of their male counterparts.

Only 14.5 percent of teens who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual report an hour of activity on most days.  

However, some kids are making up for a lack of activity during the school day by joining sports teams. Nearly two of three Colorado teens (61 percent) played on a sports team in the past year. 

While many public health efforts focus on encouraging physical activity in schools or promoting Safe Routes to Schools program, other initiatives focus on opportunities unique to Coloradans. These efforts encourage teens to make the most of Colorado’s free outdoor activities, including the state’s parks, open spaces, bike paths and hiking trails.