State lags in child health care

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Colorado’s Health Report Card:
Healthy Beginnings C-
Healthy Children C-
Healthy Adolescents B
Healthy Adults B
Healthy Aging A-

Colorado’s aging population is relatively healthy, but its children rank only average in health care needs and gains.

That’s according to the Colorado Health Foundation’s annual report card.

The state ranks average or below average on most measures related to children and has fallen behind Louisiana, Georgia and Mississippi on critical children’s health indicators such as insurance coverage or prenatal care.

Developed by the foundation and the Colorado Health Institute, the indicators are organized into five life stages: beginnings, children, adolescents and aging to show the biggest health threats for each age group.

Healthy aging stage earned an A-, but the beginnings and children section both earned a C-. The grades are based on 40 indicators based on consultation and input from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and a foundation advisory committee. Adolescents in Colorado received a B-.

Findings from the report:

  • The state ranks 39 out of 50 in the percentage of women receiving early prenatal care and in the percentage of low-birth weight babies.
  • The state ranks 37th for the amount of exercise children get. Nearly 10 percent of the state’s children are overweight.
  • Colorado’s adolescents, on the other hand, score well on nutrition, exercise, weight and mental health. The state has a large number of binge drinkers and a higher percentage of teenage pregnancies.
  • Working-age adults have the second-lowest incidence of diabetes and hypertension. The state also has the lowest adult obesity rate in the nation, but that rate has doubled in the past 20 years.
  • Colorado ranks 32nd in the number of adults with health insurance. One in four adults has no regular source of care.
  • Colorado’s older adults score in the top 10 on six of seven indicators: 62.2 percent of older adults have had a flu shot in the past year and have had a pneumonia vaccination.