Sun April 6, 2014

Boulder's Wealth May Be A Factor For Lowest Obesity Rate

Boulder's Open Space and Mountain Parks contain over 145 miles of trails.
Credit Dean Krafft / Flickr - Creative Commons

Boulder’s reputation as a healthy city has pushed it to the top nationwide for the lowest obesity rates. The city has come in first for lowest obesity rates every year with the exception of 2009 in a survey conducted by Gallup.

It's also some welcome good news for a state that's recently gotten knocked down a few pegs on its healthy reputation. A recent Colorado Health Foundation report card gave us a B for adult health and a C for child health. Another survey from Gallup in March found Colorado's top spot as the least obese state usurped by Montana.

So why is Boulder the torch bearer in Colorado?

.Boulder’s Open Space and Mountain Parks pack in a massive amount of public land for hiking and biking, with .45,000 acres and 146 miles. of trails to choose from. We all know Colorado has a reputation for being a bike friendly state, and Boulder’s 120 miles of bike trails is only exceeded by Minneapolis and Portland, Oregon.

While adults in Boulder and other parts of Colorado rank high in overall health, 23 percent [.pdf] of children under 18 are overweight, with poverty playing a large role. Access to parks [.pdf] are a problem for underprivileged urban areas, leading to reduced physical activity.

Denver County comes in last for statewide poverty and poor health indicators. In contrast, Boulder's ranks in the top five with high-tech industries contributing to significantly higher incomes compared to the rest of the state. Nearly one-fourth of Boulder family households earn between $100,000 and $149,000 a year. The median family income is $94,476. Colorado's median income is $58,244.

As for access to parks, Colorado is practically bursting with them - city, state and national. The state ranks higher than the national average. Nearly 70 percent of children in the state live near a park compared to 54 percent nationwide. In Boulder you're never too far from a park, the city maintains more than 60 of them.