This Data Spotlight, Where Health Happens: Health Begins Where Coloradans Live, Learn, Work and Play, explores nontraditional drivers of health including education and child care; financial security and safety; food access; housing; and transportation. It features stories from three Colorado communities facing disparities and taking action to improve the health and well-being of local residents, including two Denver neighborhoods and the city of Walsenburg.
Education and Child Care
Coloradans with more education report better health than their less-educated counterparts. Studies have even found that higher levels of education lead to longer lives, underscoring the importance of making education a priority from the get-go.
Financial Security and Safety
Studies show a strong link between living in low-income areas and higher rates of obesity and greater chances of disease. Residents of neighborhoods plagued by crime and violence also face higher health risks.
A diet filled with fruits and vegetables is linked to lower obesity rates and better overall health outcomes. Yet, one of seven Coloradans, and one of five children, are unable to afford or access healthy, adequate meals.
Poor housing has been associated with an increased risk of chronic illness, inadequate nutrition — especially among children — and poor mental health. High housing costs force many low-income families to make difficult choices and trade-offs.
How we get around affects our health and the health of those around us. Driving from A to B — rather than walking, cycling or taking public transportation — can result in less physical activity and more negative health consequences.
Communities in Action
The Where Health Happens Data Spotlight features three Colorado communities taking action to improve the health and well-being of local residents.