Data on Colorado’s Obesity Trends

An extensive report about obesity in America has been released, including data on obesity rates for each state. The report shows alarming trends of increasing obesity and inactivity across the country. In the last year, adult obesity rates increased in 16 states and not a single state saw a decrease in obesity. Twelve states, almost exclusively in the Southern region with the exception of Michigan, now have an obesity rate of over 30 percent. Just four years ago, only one state had an obesity rate greater than 30 percent. Mississippi tips the scale with the highest rates of obesity, physical inactivity, and hypertension.

The data from 2008 – 2010 indicates that our state of Colorado is the leanest in the country, with 19.8 percent of adults classified as obese (Body Mass Index of 30 or greater). Colorado is the only state with an obesity rate below 20 percent. We also have the lowest percentage of adults suffering from diabetes and are ranked the third most active state.

Colorado is on the forefront of initiatives and programs to keep residents fit and healthy. Colorado is one of only 11 states that require physical activity in school. Just this past year, legislation was passed requiring that each school district in Colorado implements a physical activity policy that provides a minimum number of minutes for each student attending an elementary school. Our state is also one of twenty states that have nutritional standards for school meals.

While it is encouraging that our state is considered one of the healthiest in the nation, Coloradoans have not been immune to the obesity epidemic. Twenty years ago, only 6.9 percent of adults in the state were obese. This percentage has nearly tripled in this relatively short time frame. Additionally, 36 percent of adults were either overweight or obese in the 1988-1990 survey, and now more than 56 percent of adults are above the healthy weight range. Carrying extra weight can interfere with daily activities; here are some of the activities that our bariatric patients have been able to enjoy since losing weight.