The Health Of Coloradans Varies County To County, And Housing Is One Reason Why

<p>Leslie Smail/CPR News</p>
<p>The town of Aspen and Aspen Highlands Ski Resort.</p>
Town of Aspen
The town of Aspen and Aspen Highlands Ski Resort.

Colorado’s mountain regions and Denver suburbs fare the best in the state health-wise, and access to housing is a major reason why, according to a new national report.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute county-by-county ranking looked at more than 30 factors that impact health, including poverty, education and jobs.

Douglas, Pitkin, Eagle, Boulder and Broomfield counties led the rankings.

Not every region in Colorado was succeeding in healthcare, though. Costilla and Huerfano counties face the biggest hurdles as a result of multiple underlying factors.

“(We’re seeing) patterns around lower high school graduation rates, we're seeing higher rates of income inequality, we're seeing that in those counties there's significantly more tobacco use,” said Abbey Cofsky, a managing director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The report found people's health is often linked to housing costs. In Colorado, nearly 15 percent of households spend more than half their income on housing costs. And in some counties, nearly a quarter of households spend that much.

"If you're paying a lot for rent or for your home, it has the potential to influence how much you're able to spend on health food, or child care," Cofsky said.