World Heart Day was September 29. The World Heart Foundation started the observance in an effort to create heart-healthy environments and promote heart-healthy choices. It’s a good day to ask just how heart-healthy Colorado really is.
Obesity is a leading factor in poor heart health. Colorado has ranked lowest in national obesity rankings for years. In 2013, 21.3 percent of Colorado adults had a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or higher, the cut-off point for obesity. Hawaii, the second-place state, is a close second at 21.8 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
However, the number of obese Coloradans has grown by 3 percentage points since 2005. Rates of diabetes have increased by 2.4 percentage points and rates of hypertension have climbed 3.6 percentage points since 2005. We also see these trends in Colorado’s children. Fifteen percent of children between the ages of two and 14 are obese. This is particularly important, because kids who are obese by age five are five times more likely to be an obese adult.
The 2013 Colorado Health Report Card looks at ways to make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation.
The last two years show a drop in Colorado’s obesity rate, although it might have more to do with survey methodology than healthier living.
The Report Card shows that income disparities in Colorado influence obesity rates. In general, the more money you make, the slimmer you are. Why? Quite simply, junk food is cheaper. Access to healthier food and fitness facilities are both influenced by income and could explain why obesity rates are slightly lower in higher income households. Rates of diabetes also decrease as income increases. This suggests that income disparities play an influential role in Colorado’s heart-health.