Colorado ranks 9th among healthy states

Colorado ranks ninth among states with a healthy population, according to America’s Health Rankings.

It’s an increase of four spots from last year, and once again, Colorado was named the least obese state in the nation.

The rankings are published by the United Health Foundation, the American Public Health Association and the Partnership for Prevention.

The state earned the above-average ranking because of low levels of air pollution, lower prevalence of obesity and low prevalence of diabetes. In the past year, the rate of uninsured population dropped from 15.6 percent to 13.8 percent.

However, this is the first year that no state claimed a below-obesity rating – including Colorado, which has an obesity level of 21.4 percent. The report says that 814,000 people in Colorado are obese, an increase of 360,000 individuals during the past 10 years.

The state also had a low use of early prenatal care, high geographic disparity within the state and low immunization coverage.

Other highlights from the report:

- Smoking decreased from 19.8 percent to 15.6 percent of adults.

- Diabetes increased from 4.8 percent to 6 percent.

- In the past 10 years, the number of children living in poverty increased from 10.9 percent to 18.5 percent.

- Obesity is most prevalent among blacks at 27.9 percent, than in whites at 18.3 percent and Hispanics at 24.8 percent.

Vermont is still the healthiest state – for the fifth year in a row. New York and New Jersey showed the most improvement, moving up six places. Idaho and Alaska dropped the most places. Mississippi ranked last, as it has for the past decade. The state has low violent crime rate, but a high obesity rate, high childhood poverty and low rate of high school graduation.

Nationally, improvements were made in smoking cessation, preventable hospitalizations and fewer cardiovascular deaths.

But obesity increased to 27.5 percent nationally, a 37.5 percent increase since 2001.

Overall, the country did not improve in health standards, meaning that there was a total balance between improvements and detriments in all 23 measures.