Colorado 11th 
in ranking of states by health

Colorado jumped three spots to rank 11th in this year’s America’s Health Rankings.

Colorado’s score improved this year in part because public health funding per Colorado resident increased from $55 to $81 in the last five years and the state’s percentage of children in poverty decreased from 18.5 percent in 2010 to 15.5 percent in 2011, according to the rankings. Other improvements include a decrease in the last 10 years in hospitalizations for Medicare patients who may have been able to avoid a hospital visit with preventative care and a decline over the last decade in cardiovascular deaths in the state.

Colorado ranks first for having the lowest portion of obese residents, the lowest portion of residents who do not exercise and the lowest portion of residents with diabetes. Colorado has the fourth-lowest rate of cancer deaths per 100,000 residents at 158.1, ranks fifth for least amount of air pollution, is in sixth place for its ratio of 118.3 physicians for every 100,000 residents, and ranks 10th-lowest for number of residents who smoke, at 18.3 percent of the population.

Factors keeping the state out of the top 10 include an increase year over year in the number of citizens contracting either measles, pertussis, hepatitis A or syphillis, from 7.3 cases of one of the four diseases per 100,000 residents to 11.1 cases per 100,000 residents.

The state also received low marks for having a high percentage of babies born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces, and a hefty 20.1 percent of residents 18 or older who binge drink, which the ranking defines as drinking four or more alcoholic drinks in one sitting for a woman or five or more drinks for a man at least once in the last 30 days. Colorado ranked lowest — 45th — for percentage of babies and toddlers between 19 and 35 months who received recommended vaccinations. According to the rankings, 86.8 percent of Colorado children in that age range were vaccinated in 2011.

The top spot in this year’s America’s Health Rankings went to Vermont, which has won top billing six years in a row. Hawaii ranked second, followed in order by New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Minnesota. Utah was the highest-ranking state on Colorado’s border at seventh place.

Mississippi and Louisiana tied for last place in the 2012 rankings.

United Health Foundation, the American Public Health Association and Partnership for Prevention have compiled the rankings each year for 23 years.


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