Colorado often gets good grades for health.
After an extremely unofficial poll using the measurement method of “driving around,” we’ve concluded that we have more “iron man” stickers here than any other state, and that it’s perfectly acceptable to own a bicycle that’s worth more than your car. That’s probably because Colorado is often regarded as one of the healthiest states in the country. With more miles of bike trails, more farm-to-table restaurants, and more physically rigorous activities to choose from, that’s really no surprise! So let’s take it one step further and see which counties are actually the healthiest.
Not surprisingly, the healthiest counties are the wealthiest (a topic you can save for your sociology paper), and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation report we’re drawing these figures from takes that fact into account. They also incorporate other factors, such as the percentage of smoking adults, those that report to be in poor health, low birthweight, poor mental health days, physical inactivity, access to exercise, access to healthcare, the food environment index, sexually transmitted infections, and of course, excessive drinking.
As it turns out, Douglas County, Pitkin County, Broomfield, Ouray, and Boulder lead the way, while Costilla, Saguache, Crowley, Bent, and Fremont bring up the rear.
Denver County ranks 38th, which we assume is because it’s among the most populous (meaning more STIs) and reports one of the highest rates of binge-drinking. In fact, Colorado in general ranks poorly in terms of binge-drinking and alcohol-related driving deaths, and the state has a chlamydia transmission rate that’s 40 percent higher than the national average.
“The County Health Rankings show us that where people live plays a key role in how long and how well they live,” Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, the president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, said in a statement accompanying the rankings’ release.