DENVER – Colorado just got its Report Card on Health – and Coloradans did not get straight A’s.
Adults ranked first in the nation for physical activity as well as keeping obesity and diabetes under control. But kids – especially poor children and children of color – scored significantly lower than their higher-income counterparts.
Sarah Hughes, research director for the Colorado Children’s Campaign, said children need more than access to health care. They also need access to the kinds of environments where families can make healthy choices.
“If you have access to a park in your neighborhood that is safe,” she said, “you might be more likely to go outside, run around, bring your kids to the playground, than if you’re low-income and you’re living in a low-income community and there’s crime in the community.”
Hughes said the 2015 Colorado Health Report Card, released Thursday at the Legislature, shows the state needs to focus on low-income children and children of color.
The report said the infant mortality rate for African-American babies is more than twice that of white infants, and that Hispanic women are less likely to receive prenatal care than are other women.
More than one in five Colorado children lives in a low-income family. Hughes said reaching them when they’re young will make a huge difference in preventing chronic conditions in adulthood, such as diabetes and heart disease.
She said poor health outcomes will put a big financial strain on the state in the future.
“And so, ensuring that kids have healthy habits when they’re young, and they have access to the care that they need to stay healthy, is going to affect all of us,” she said.
On the report card, low-income older adults also got low grades compared with higher-wage earners. For example, only 15 percent of seniors living on $75,000 a year or more reported poor health.
But of those living on $10,000 a year or less, 43 percent reported poor health.
The 2015 Colorado Health Report Card is online at www.ColoradoHealth.org/ReportCard.