What if Colorado were No. 1? The 2013 Colorado Health Report Card explores possibilities
DENVER, CO – Approximately 66,600 more children would be physically active, 458,200 more adults would have health insurance and 137,600 fewer Coloradans would report poor mental health if Colorado were No. 1 among other states in childhood obesity, health care insurance coverage and mental health indicators. That's according to "A Roadmap to Number One," a supplement to the 2013 Colorado Health Report Card, which was released today by the Colorado Health Foundation and the Colorado Health Institute.
Now in its eighth year, the Report Card tracks 38 indicators spanning five life stages: Healthy Beginnings, Healthy Children, Healthy Adolescents, Healthy Adults and Healthy Aging. A letter grade is assigned to each of the five life stages, ranking Colorado from best (No. 1) to worst (No. 50) among all states. In this way, the Report Card provides a comprehensive picture of the health of Coloradans and where we need to improve.
This year's Report Card supplement explores both national and local initiatives that are tackling some of the toughest issues affecting the health of Coloradans. The supplement, "A Roadmap to Number One," illustrates what it would mean if Colorado were to achieve the top ranking in each particular indicator and focuses on best practices within key indicators that could help Colorado make vast improvements in health and healthcare.
What if Colorado were No. 1?
- 7,000 more babies would be born to mothers who received timely prenatal care
- 66,600 more children would engage in 20+ minutes of vigorous physical activity four or more days per week
- 27,600 fewer adolescents would be living in families with incomes below the poverty level
- 458,200 fewer adults would be uninsured
- 137,600 fewer Coloradans would report poor mental health
- 21,600 fewer older adults would report limited activity due to poor physical or mental health
Healthy Living: Getting Youth Active
The St. Vrain Valley School District launched an ambitious program to increase physical activity among elementary students through a quality physical education (PE) program that includes grade-specific PE curriculum with standards, assessment tools and instruction. The district also implemented WELNET, a fitness-data evaluation system that records fitness-testing data and cognitive assessments and allows teachers to assign behavior logs that students fill out about their eating habits, exercise regimen and more. Nearly all St. Vrain elementary students (96 percent) engaged in PE in 2012, averaging 71 minutes a week.
Health Coverage: Insuring the Young Invincibles
A 2013 survey found that only 27 percent of 19- to 29-year-olds knew about the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) online insurance markets. The Center for African American Health received a grant from Connect for Health Colorado to fund eight certified Health Coverage Guides, who provide insurance enrollment assistance and education sessions through its ACA 101 initiative and who work closely with Regis University and Metro State University of Denver to reach and inform young adults.
Health Care: Supporting Good Mental Health
Colorado submitted a State Innovation Model (SIM) plan to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid with the goal of bringing integrated care to 80 percent of Coloradans by 2019. The plan outlines steps for successful integration and identifies state policy and regulation barriers. The state’s plan also calls for linking the public health system with clinical care to promote prevention.
"While Colorado fares well in some areas, this new report identifies promising initiatives that provide a roadmap to making Colorado the healthiest state in the nation,” notes Anne Warhover, president and CEO of the Colorado Health Foundation. “By showing where there’s room for improvement – and what’s at stake if we improve – the Report Card is an important tool for determining how healthy we are and what type of policy efforts could improve the health of our state."
"The Report Card is essential to our community and to our work," said Michele Lueck, president and CEO of the Colorado Health Institute, which partners with the Colorado Health Foundation to gather the data and analyze the findings. "It helps us align our work to reach our goal of becoming the healthiest state in the nation. At the same time, it describes the enormity and complexity of that task."
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.