Since the 1980s, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has surveyed every state across the nation to assess citizens’ health and nutritional habits. A lot has changed over the last few decades, as the majority of states in the U.S. have reached higher obesity rates. But in defiance of the odds, Colorado hasn’t changed much, holding the honorable title of the lowest adult obesity rates in the nation.

What’s so special about Colorado?

Well, it’s certainly put in various physical activities and nutritional plans to help reach state health goals. But these policies aren’t necessarily unique, as other states have tried similar tactics without real success. Simply put, it’s a cultural thing. Colorado residents have managed to adopt exercise and good nutrition as nothing short of ordinary. The state is known for its outdoor sports with ski lodges, hiking, and various other nature workouts. Choosing a good day on the slopes over watching TV is common behavior.

Moreover, the State of Colorado provides fresh food programs with Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in addition to partnering with local farmers to bring fresh food to the majority of its residents. Colorado’s restaurants also embrace the healthy culture, providing numerous healthy food dishes with whole grains and fresh vegetables. But of course, you can still find the greasy, fat-saturated eating spots, if healthy isn’t your thing. Just know that you’re going against local culture.

When fresh food is readily accessible and nature trails are a short drive away, good nutrition and exercise are easily infused into local culture. Maybe the rest of America ought to focus on a cultural shift in addition to policy.

How can your state start winning? Speak on it.


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  1. Yay!! My home state!!!

  2. I live in WV, the “most unhealthy” state. Not real proud here! We have made changes in the public school system. The menus however, are NOT what I would call healthy. They have banned all cakes, cookies, candy, etc, for classroom parties, yet they are still serving corndogs, chicken nuggets, hotdogs and other unhealthy items for lunch. This is quite a mixed message for kids on what constitutes a healthy diet. Also, I believe another reason for our sad No. 1 spot is the acceptance of the high concentration of fast food restaurants in our towns and citites. No matter how rural a town, it has at least a McDonald’s, KFC, etc. Sure it means a few jobs, a quick, sometimes cheaper, meal, but the ultimate toll it is taking on our health has GOT to be looked at a lot more closely by our government. We have just as much access to healthy activities here in the Mountain state, but our downfall is lack of “pier” pressure to look and eat healthy! We need major CHANGE!

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