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Colorado adults remain leanest in the nation

State and local health agencies work to keep obesity rate low
In this May 29 photo, workout enthusiasts carry out their routine under the direction of Joe Hendricks at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre near Morrison, Colo.

Colorado remained the leanest state in the nation in 2015, with a 20.2 percent adult obesity rate, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System.

Colorado’s obesity rate increased dramatically from 2000 through 2010 but since then has leveled off. Nevertheless, one in five Colorado adults is obese, and obesity rates are higher for African-American (27.7 percent) and Hispanic (28.3 percent) Coloradans.

“Our efforts seem to be contributing to a growing awareness across Colorado of the health costs of obesity and the benefits of a healthy lifestyle,” said Joan Brucha, manager of the health department’s Healthy Eating Active Living Unit. “But we can see there’s clearly more work to be done to make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation.”

Obesity is a complex problem, with many causes and consequences. Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer – some of the leading causes of preventable death.

Colorado is the second-fastest growing state in the nation, according to new Census Bureau data, attracting people drawn to its outdoor opportunities, abundant sunshine and active lifestyle. Coloradans rank first in physical activity according to United Health Foundation’s annual health rankings. But it has experienced the same growth in the prevalence of obesity as other states in the nation.

Gov. Hickenlooper’s 2013 State of Health Report named statewide obesity prevention and reduction a priority, as he called for making Colorado the healthiest state in the nation. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and local public health agencies also have prioritized obesity reduction.

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