Denver Public Health, Denver Department of Public Health and Environment, community partners and city agencies have convened a collective effort to address childhood obesity in Denver. It’s a major concern that one in six children are obese before reaching adulthood. Obese adults face many long-term health consequences, and keeping children at a healthy weight will prevent many from facing these health issues. This health indicator provides information on obesity rates among children in Denver. It also explains work happening to increase the percentage of children in Denver at a healthy weight.
Childhood Obesity Rates
The graph shows:
- Promising trends. The percentage of overweight and obese children appears consistent in each age group over the past five years, an important improvement after decades of year over year increases.
- The progressive nature of childhood obesity in Denver. The percentage of overweight and obese children increases substantially as children get older.
- The power of prevention. The opportunity for early prevention efforts, like establishing healthy eating habits early in a child’s life, exist to prevent children from ever reaching an unhealthy weight.
Other information not shown in this graph but presented in the 2014 Health of Denver Report shows the strong link between poverty and childhood obesity. A comprehensive, collaborative approach focused on prevention and equal access to resources – regardless of income – should be the main way to decrease childhood obesity rates in Denver.
- Increasing the availability of healthy foods and beverages and limiting unhealthy food and beverages.
- Restricting marketing of unhealthy food and beverages.
- Incentivizing healthy choices. For example, “double bucks” make healthy food more affordable by increasing the value Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefit when buying fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Increasing opportunities for physical activity for children, like supporting mandatory daily Physical Education classes.
- Increasing safe routes and environments for children to walk or bike to/from school.
- Supporting public policies, like adding a sugar warning label, to educate families on the amount of added sugar in drinks and associated health risks.
- Using media to encourage individual health behavior change.
Developing policies and programs to promote healthy food and beverage options by building awareness and encouraging behavior change.
- Denver Public Health is leading regional efforts through the Healthy Beverage Partnership to reduce consumption of sugar loaded beverages and promote healthy beverage consumption.
- Denver Public Health is partnering with public venues to develop healthy food and beverage procurement policies.
- Denver Public Health is managing a Denver-focused social marketing campaign called Hidden-Sugar.org to promote healthy beverage consumption among Latino children ages 0 - 6 years old and their families, who have higher rates of childhood obesity.
- Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment oversees the Colorado Healthy Hospital Compact to build healthier nutrition environments where people receive medical care. Denver partner organizations include Denver Health, Denver Public Health, Kaiser Permanente and LiveWell Colorado.
Ensuring that all children have access to daily physical activity opportunities to help prevent childhood obesity.
- Be Healthy Denver includes strategies to increase opportunities for children to be physically active by 1) prioritizing daily physical education for all students, and 2) strengthening physical activity standards and guidelines in Denver’s licensed child care centers.
- Denver Public Schools is evaluating and improving the quality of its physical education offerings, as well as promoting the connection of physical activity to academic success.
- Denver Public Health is working with numerous partners to support school level and city level policies that support walking and riding a bike to school.
- Be Healthy Denver
- Boulder County Public Health
- Broomfield Public Health and Environment
- Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
- Denver Department of Public Health and Environment
- Denver Health and Hospital Authority
- Denver Public Schools
- Jefferson County Public Health
- Kaiser Permanente of Colorado
- LiveWell Colorado
- Tri-County Health Department
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Additional sources of data related to the measurement being monitored
Last Updated 10/2/2017