Colorado's report card a mixed bag

April 30, 2013

Would Colorado's recent health report card yield praise and rewards or some good advice and coaching on how to do better next time?

The 2012 Colorado Healthy Report card, released March 21, certainly begs the question. This annual report is commissioned by the Colorado Health Foundation and compiled by the nonaffiliated nonprofit Colorado Health Institute.

The state's low obesity rate among adults ranked No. 1 in the nation and has been a historical strength and widely reported. However, there might be less consumer health literacy about areas in which we struggle.

Colorado ranks 23rd for low rate of childhood obesity. And though childhood obesity has increased in all states, the rate change is of special interest in Colorado because of the difference between obesity rates of children and adults, and because the rate of increase in the state is second nationally.

In response to the childhood obesity epidemic, local efforts to make a difference abound. 'Learning Gardens ' have been sponsored by multiple organizations, including The Boulder Kitchen Community, which has sponsored more than 20. Its mission is to connect kids with 'real food ' by involving them in the process of growing it.

The clever Go, Slow, Whoa prevention program was implemented in partnership with Aurora public schools and already is enjoying short-term results as it works to change perceptions and attitudes toward food. School lunch programs have undergone overhauls in an effort to eliminate high fructose corn syrup and other ingredients from school menu offerings to improve nutritional content.

In Colorado Springs, the Junior League, heavily supported by local businesses, has promoted healthy food preparation, fitness activities and more to raise awareness of childhood obesity.

So while Colorado works to improve some of its report card grades and tackles the problem of childhood obesity, it can be proud of its initiative to rise to the occasion and work jointly at the community level to create solutions.


Klein is a 1st degree Black Belt in taekwondo and practices at the U.S. Taekwondo Center, serving the region for 26 years. For more information, call 488-4321.

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