Monday, April 13, 2015

New Report on Childhood Overweight and Obesity in Colorado

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), with input from the Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) Surveillance Workgroup, has analyzed the most recent data on childhood overweight and obesity and released a new fact sheet, “Childhood Overweight and Obesity in Colorado”, and accompanying presentation slides.

Highlights of the findings for Colorado’s children:
·  More than one in four children ages 2-14 years were overweight or obese in 2013. The percent of children who were overweight or obese did not change significantly from 2004 to 2013.
·  Some groups bear more of the burden… Disparities in overweight and obesity exist for Black and Hispanic children as well as for children without health insurance, without a medical home, living in poverty, or with food insecurity.   
·  There’s room for improvement in meeting recommendations for preventive behaviors… More than half of children in Colorado meet recommendations for screen time, sleep, fruit consumption, and sugary beverage consumption, but there is much room for improvement. Children are not doing as well at meeting recommendations for physical activity and vegetable consumption.
·  Healthy role models lead to healthy children… Children were more likely to meet physical activity and fruit and vegetable consumption recommendations and to drink less than one sugary beverage per day if their parents demonstrated these behaviors.
·  Several health risks are associated with childhood obesity… Among these health risks are social and psychological problems, which can continue into adulthood. 33% of obese children had difficulties with emotions, concentration, behavior, or getting along with others compared with 23% of non-obese children.

The fact sheet also presents overweight and obesity prevalence data for low-income preschool-aged children and high school students. Details related to comparison of Colorado and national data are explained.

There is room for improvement in children’s weight status and preventive behaviors across the population. Recognizing that we have the data necessary to determine disparate populations and factors associated with overweight or obesity, we can use these results to select, target, and implement promising and proven strategies that can help Coloradans make healthier choices statewide. For more information, see “How can childhood overweight and obesity be prevented and controlled?” in the fact sheet as well as Colorado Health Institute’s recent report on fruit and vegetable policy strategies.

Be sure to check out CDPHE’s other fact sheets on fruit and vegetable consumption, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and diabetes in the “Facts for Action: Chronic Diseases and Related Risk Factors in Colorado” series of fact sheets. This fact sheet series aims to support and encourage data-driven and evidence-based discussions about ways to promote healthy living and chronic disease prevention in Colorado.

Questions or comments? Please email Renee Calanan, Chronic Disease Epidemiologist, at  

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