State's Top Doctor: "Too Many Coloradans Are Overweight Or Obese"

Aug 31, 2017

Despite a 2 percent uptick in obesity rates among adults, Colorado remains the leanest state in the nation.

The rate of adult obesity in Colorado climbed from 20.2 percent in 2015 to 22.3 percent in 2016, according to a new report by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It analyzed data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report bolsters Colorado’s long-standing reputation as one of the healthiest states in the nation (though with room for improvement). Yet state health officials say the numbers aren’t great.

“Regardless of the state’s ranking as the leanest state in the nation, we know too many Coloradans are overweight or obese,” said Dr. Larry Wolk, chief medical officer at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in a statement Thursday.

People who have obesity are at increased risk for many serious diseases and health conditions, according to the CDC, including heart disease and stroke.

Colorado’s obesity rate has followed a national trend, increasing steadily for two decades and leveling off in recent years. State health officials plan to monitor the data to see if this recent spike in obesity represents an upward trend.

One factor working in the state’s favor? Coloradans tend to be more physically active than in other states. From 2015 to 2016, the proportion of adults who reported no recreational physical activity dropped more than 2 percentage points, to 15.8 percent.

Colorado was one of four states to see an increase in adult obesity rates. Rates also went up in Minnesota, Washington and West Virginia. They fell in Kansas and remained stable elsewhere.

West Virginia had the highest rate at 37.7 percent, with Mississippi second at 37.3 percent. Alabama and Arkansas tied for third at 35.7 percent.

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