After falling last year to 13th place in America’s Health Rankings, Colorado has risen to 9th place in this year’s results. Unfortunately, we no longer hold the position of being the only state with an adult obesity rate under 20%. If you click on the obesity link next to the graph in the Colorado results page for this year, you’ll see a steadily-climbing line that has risen from 6.9% twenty years ago, to 21.4% today. But even with the increase, Colorado still has the lowest obesity rate in the country, which gives a boost to our overall ranking.
Although the prevalence of diabetes in Colorado has been increasing (see the graph on the results page) over the past decade, it’s still on the very low end (second place) when compared with the nation as a whole – another factor that helps to bring up our overall rank.
The health rankings information is broken down into two main subgroups: Determinants and Outcomes. Determinants are factors that can influence how a state’s overall health will fare in the future (ie, these are factors that are more predictive), whereas Outcomes show results that have already occurred and are measurable in the population. If a state has a better ranking for Determinants than for Outcomes, it’s likely that the state will improve its overall ranking as time goes by. Conversely, if a state’s Determinants ranking is significantly worse than its Outcomes, the state is likely to decline in overall rankings in the future. Colorado is ranked 10 for Determinants and 13 for Outcomes, which indicates that the state’s ranking is likely to improve in the coming years.
With regards to health insurance coverage, the America’s Health Rankings survey gave Colorado props for decreasing the percentage of the population without health insurance over the past year, from 15.6% to 13.8%. However, the Colorado Health Access survey results that were released in November indicated the exact opposite results: that study determined that the uninsured rate in Colorado had increased over the past two year from 14% of the population to 16% now. We know that Colorado has been taking steps to expand access to public health insurance programs like Medicaid and CHP+, and we also know that plenty of Colorado residents have lost their health insurance as a result of the economic problems that have plagued the whole country over the past few years. But it’s unclear from the results of these two surveys whether the state is improving or losing ground in terms of health insurance coverage.