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New Report Highlights that Colorado Youth Don’t Make the Grade on Physical Activity

Local Public Health Agencies Hold Keys to Improvements

DENVER, CO –  “Colorado Health Report Card Extra Credit: Get Active” was released today in honor of National Public Health Week to examine Coloradans’ physical activity levels and the role of public health in increasing physical activity across the state. The report reveals how Colorado youth are falling short when it comes to getting active and identifies areas for opportunities and improvements. 

“Extra Credit: Get Active” is the first in a series of Colorado Health Report Card Data Spotlights to be released by the Colorado Health Foundation, in partnership with the Colorado Health Institute. According to the report, many school-age kids and teens fail to meet the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hour-a-day recommendation. Twenty-three states post higher physical activity rates for kids, 12 states have higher rates for teens; and only 46 percent of high school students attend one or more PE classes a week. 

In addition, data in “Extra Credit: Get Active” show that many Coloradans are not engaging in enough physical activity to realize important health benefits for a number of reasons:

  • More than half of teens spend three or more hours each day behind a screen – a computer, TV or phone.
  • Nearly half of teens said they could walk or ride a bike, scooter or skateboard to get to school, but only 20 percent of teens actually do. 
  • Girls trail boys when it comes to physical activity: 40 percent of teen girls report an hour of physical activity five days a week compared to about 58 percent of teen boys.

“Especially during this year’s National Public Health Week that focuses on rallying communities around a goal of making the U.S. the healthiest nation in one generation by 2030, the Colorado Health Foundation thanks public health officials for their work making Colorado healthy and physically active,” said Rahn Porter, interim president and CEO of the Colorado Health Foundation. “Physical activity has been an increasingly important public health focus with rising obesity rates.” 

As a result of the increased focus on obesity rates, public health officials are leading the race to ensure that Coloradans are active, working to provide all residents with healthy and safe environments that promote physical activity. Forty-three of Colorado’s 54 local public health agencies have identified active living and healthy eating or obesity prevention as a priority. Many agencies are working in their communities to restore parks, install sidewalks and create safer routes to schools. 

“Physical activity plays a crucial role in combating a number of public health concerns, such as obesity, mental health and chronic heart disease,” notes Lisa VanRaemdonck, director, Colorado Association of Local Public Health Officials. “This report clearly shows the progress the public health community has achieved and highlights opportunities moving forward. A greater emphasis on physical activity efforts could help improve health-related issues across the state.”   

“The Data Spotlight – ‘Extra Credit: Get Active’ reveals hard data and is a good reminder of work yet to be done, but Colorado can’t get to number one in physical activity without our public health officials’ contributions. The Foundation is proud to work closely with public health officials across the state to help make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation,” said Porter.

About the Colorado Health Foundation
The Colorado Health Foundation is singularly focused on helping Coloradans live their healthiest lives by advancing opportunities to pursue good health and achieve health equity through grantmaking, policy and advocacy, strategic private investments and convening to drive change. For more information, please visit www.coloradohealth.org.

About the Colorado Health Institute 
The Colorado Health Institute is a nonprofit health policy research organization dedicated to providing data,information and analysis to support Colorado’s leaders and policy makers. We are a trusted source of independent and objective health information. For more information, please visit coloradohealthinstitute.org.