Thursday, March 21, 2013

Colorado Health Report Card Shows What it Means to be the Healthiest State

Approximately 92,600 fewer adults would report mental health difficulties and 24,900 fewer children would be obese if Colorado were No. 1 among other states in mental health and childhood obesity. That's according to "Keeping Colorado Competitive: Roadmap to a Healthier, More Productive Workforce," a supplement to the 2012 Colorado Health Report Card released today by the Colorado Health Foundation and the Colorado Health Institute.
The Report Card supplement explores the connection between the state's physical and mental health and its economic health. Along with highlighting the economic burden poor and mediocre health impose on Colorado's economy, the supplement quantifies – in specific dollar amounts – how Colorado would benefit if it were No. 1 among states in key health indicators. Among the findings:
  • Colorado employers and employees could save an estimated $121 million annually in health care costs if the state had the lowest rate of depression.Currently, Colorado ranks No. 13 in the nation for the percentage of adults reporting poor mental health. The National Business Group on Health estimates that approximately 217 million workdays are completely or partially lost annually due to mental illness in the United States. Cumulatively, lost productivity related to depression costs employers nationwide $44 billion a year.
  • Colorado employers and employees could save an estimated $229 million annually in health costs if adult obesity rates returned to 1996 levels. Though Colorado has the lowest rate of adult obesity, that rate has doubled in 15 years. Employers pay an additional $1,091 annually in health care costs for an employee who is obese compared to one who is not.
  • Colorado employers and employees could save an estimated $38 million annually in health care costs if the state had the lowest rate of childhood obesity. Recent statistics show Colorado is No. 23 in childhood obesity. If it were No. 1, 24,900 Colorado children would not be obese. Medical information provider Thomson Medstat estimates that annual health care costs for an obese child are $2,635 higher than for a child of normal weight.
Now in its seventh year, the Report Card tracks 38 indicators spanning five life stages:Healthy Beginnings, Healthy Children, Healthy Adolescents, Healthy Adults and Healthy Aging. By assigning a letter grade to each of the five life stages that includes ranking Colorado against the other states from best to worst, with No. 1 being the "best" state to No. 50 being the "worst," the Report Card provides a comprehensive picture of the health of Colorado residents.
For the first time, the Report Card analysis asks the question, "What if we were No. 1?" illustrating what it would mean if Colorado were to achieve the top ranking in each particular indicator. Among the answers:
  • 2,100 more babies would be born at a healthy weight
  • 123,400 more children would have access to a medical home
  • 32,600 fewer high school students would smoke cigarettes
  • 376,800 fewer adults would binge drink
  • 16,200 more older adults would have all of their recommended immunizations
Report Card results:
While Colorado is making progress with some key health indicators, the state's overall grades haven't improved much since the Colorado Health Foundation issued its first Report Card in 2006. From 2010 to 2012, the overall grade for Healthy Beginnings (an indicator that measures prenatal care for babies and their mothers) remained unchanged at a mediocre C. During the past year, the state's grade for Healthy Children fell from an unacceptable C- to a dismal D+. Meanwhile, the grades for Healthy Adolescents, Healthy Adults, Healthy Agingimproved only slightly between 2011 and 2012.
Grades at a glance:
Year-over-year results20082009201020112012
Healthy BeginningsC-CCCC
Healthy ChildrenC-D+D+C-D+
Healthy AdolescentsBB-B-B-B
Healthy AdultsB-BBBB+
Healthy AgingB+B+A-BB+

1 comment:

  1. I really appreciate the breakdown and I love the question "what if we were number #1?"

    This hits home to see the multiple benefits of pushing forth in this work across the state. Thank you!