2009 Colorado Health Report Card Documents State is Failing Children’s Health

The 2009 Colorado Health Report Card, released today by the Colorado Health Foundation, documents that Colorado continues to fall behind in important areas affecting children’s health. Key indicators track the health status of Coloradans in five different life stages,
and this year’s report shows that the biggest declines occurred in children’s

The overall grade for Healthy Children dropped from a C- in 2008 to a rating of D+ in 2009. Among the indicators for this life stage, the most dramatic drop was in childhood obesity where the state fell from third in the nation to twenty third. In addition, Colorado remains in the bottom half of all states in four out of the six indicators for this life stage. Particularly disturbing are our rankings for the number of children who do not have health insurance (45th); children who do not receive routine preventative dental care (38th); and school-age children who participate in vigorous activity (34th).

“The results of this year’s report make clear that we are failing to meet the basic health needs of Colorado’s children. We can and must do better. Other states and local communities have implemented policy measures to tackle the problems that plague children’s health,” said Anne Warhover, president and CEO of the Colorado Health Foundation. “This data should serve as a rallying cry for the people of Colorado and especially the state’s health care community to make
changes that will reverse this alarming trend and positively impact the health
of our children.”

Colorado gets high marks on other surveys for healthy lifestyles, but the Report Card indicates that there are several areas where the state is losing ground. In response the Report Card results, Gov. Bill Ritter said “It will take a concerted Colorado effort to create healthier communities and a healthier future for our children. Ritter continued “We are making progress in many areas, such as giving more children a smart start to their day with healthy school breakfasts, providing higher-quality health coverage to more kids around the state, and partnering with organizations like the Colorado Health Foundation to provide a stronger focus on prevention and wellness through diet and exercise. But we clearly have much more work to do on behalf of our children. We must take on this challenge because the cost of doing nothing is far too high.”

“Now is the time to make positive changes that will improve the lives of our children. Any grade below an A is unacceptable,” said David Livingston, Chairman of the Colorado Health Foundation’s Board of Directors “If we do not take proactive steps to address the indicators where we are lagging behind other states, we run the risk of losing even more ground.

The Colorado Health Report Card is in its third year of reporting on the health of Coloradans based on 38 key indicators. The 2009 Report Card breaks down the population into five life stages: Healthy Beginnings, Healthy Children, Healthy Adolescents, Healthy Adults and Healthy Aging.

The Colorado Health Foundation began issuing the Report Card in its current format in 2007 as a way to help Coloradans understand that there is still a lot of work to be before becoming the healthiest state in the nation.

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