Young patient sits on doctor's lap.

(Photo: Courtesy of the National Cancer Institute)
Colorado ranks 8th in the nation for good health.

That’s the official word from the 24th annual America’s Health Rankings, published by the United Health Foundation.

Colorado earned extra points this year for having a more physically-active population and fewer smokers. 

"There’s a really low level of obesity, a low rate of diabetes, really low levels of air pollution in the state, and we saw really low levels of preventable hospitalizations," Hellmer said.

And now for the bad news

Hellmer says Colorado also faces some serious challenges.

For example, Colorado ranks 39th in the US for its prevalence of binge drinking.

"More than 19% of the population reported binge drinking in Colorado. There’s also a high rate of deaths related to drug use," Hellmer said.

Colorado comes in at 35th for deaths related to drug use.

Still the state has improved from last year, moving up from 9th place.

Except for Utah at 6th place, Colorado ranks the healthiest state in the west.

Hawaii came in at number one.

Highlights of the report for Colorado:

  • Colorado has the lowest obesity rate in the nation at 20.5 percent of the population, with 760,000 obese adults.
  • In the past year, the drug death rate decreased from 16.3 to 14.3 deaths per 100,000.
  • In the past year, immunization coverage among adolescents increased from 58.1 percent to 68.1 percent of persons aged 13 to 17 years.
  • In the past year, the prevalence of diabetes increased from 6.7 percent to 7.4 percent of adults. Diabetes has been on the rise since the early 1990’s.
  • The percentage of low birthweight infants continues to decrease from a high of 9.2 percent of births in 2008 to 8.7 percent of births this year.
  • In the past 10 years, the rate of cardiovascular deaths decreased by 27 percent from 276.5 to 202.6 deaths per 100,000 population.

Disparities:

  • In Colorado, 60.2 percent of adults aged 25 years and older with at least a high school education report their health is very good or excellent compared to only 21.9 percent with less than a high school education, resulting in a gap of 38.3 percent.