If you happened to shuffle over to the Taste of Colorado this weekend, the thought may have crossed your mind : I thought Colorado was the fittest state in the nation?
You’re not alone in your confusion. My image of Colorado held visions of uber-tight bodies, masses of athletic people who had it all figured out, and veggies. Endless cornucopias of veggies. While traipsing along the 16th Street mall on my first visit, I was surprised at how normal everyone looked. And by “normal” these days, I mean overweight. Obese. My fantasy that our beautiful state had somehow managed to evade our nation’s obesity crisis in a perpetually protected bubble had suddenly halted to a stop.
Okay, I enthusiastically thought as I mentally rubbed my hands together, I have some work to do.
I went home and checked the latest obesity map of the United States and found that Colorado was no longer blue. What? When did this happen? For years it seemed, every state had a hue of tan, pink, or red, suggesting varying degrees of obesity. All alone in the West, Colorado had been a trusty blue. Evidently, not anymore.
Fast-forward a year later when I finally had the chance to move to Denver: I set about, pounded the pavement, and sought out any opportunity to help people feel and be stronger. I am absolutely not one of those trainers who will condone any crazed diet advice or push pills at you. I’ll never scream at anyone or punish them with a treadmill marathon. My first goal is not to make you lighter. I want to help you get smaller. More efficient in movement and ability. More comfortable in your skin. And yes, sometimes that means you will eventually weigh less. My intentions have always been the same, and I just couldn’t seem to put my finger on the cause of increasing weight statistics. Denver, you’ve been a tough read.
What I found with my first few clients was that not very many people here are from here. Myself included, folks flock from all over the world to settle in this lovely landscape for various reasons: job relocation, family, the outdoors, or in my case, to just be happy. With this transitory trend in population comes with it the disposition, both good and bad, of other parts of the country.
Which proposed the question: which came first, Colorado to obesity, or obesity to Colorado?
- As of 2012, 56.8% of Colorado adults over the age of 18 were overweight.
- 21.0% of adults were obese
- Colorado’s adolescents (grades 9-12) were at 11.1% overweight and 7.1% obese.
- Youth (aged 2 years to 5) obesity rates were at 9.1% and at 14.1% overweight.
And these numbers do not appear to be going down anytime soon. The Denver Post reported in 2012 that “at the current rate, almost half of all adults [ in Colorado] will be obese by 2030.”
We cannot let this happen. It’s up to us as a state to set the healthy example Colorado held for so many years. Let’s turn these dire predictions around. Cut childhood obesity in half by 2016? Slash adult obesity by a third? At the very least, we must bring Colorado back to blue. Who’s with me?
What do you think brought on this epidemic here in Colorado? Sound off below, I’d love your insight.
Jodilyn Stuart is the Health & Sports Senior Staff Writer for 303 Magazine, owner of ModaBody Fitness, and has been a professional fitness geek since 1997. If you have questions, feel free to email at: [email protected]