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Colorado Health Report Card 2015: Seniors Doing Better Than Kids, Adolescents

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Colorado tends to excel in health rankings such as a recent United Health Foundation report naming it the least-obese state. But drill a little deeper and it's evident that Colorado's robustness isn't universal.

The just-released 2015 Colorado Health Report Card, from the Colorado Health Foundation, shows why. The ninth-annual survey shows that the state is in the top tier when it comes to caring for seniors and adults, but flat-out mediocre in categories pertaining to kids and adolescents. Continue to see graphics and findings, complete with Colorado Health Foundation recommendations for how to improve, followed by overall grades and the complete report.

See also: Colorado Is the Least Obese State but 23rd in Chlamydia

Healthy Beginnings

Policies that could improve Colorado's grade:

Prenatal Care

All expectant mothers covered by public or private insurance have prenatal care benefits, thanks to new federal mandates for essential health benefits required of all qualified health plans. And many states are expanding the reach of their prenatal care programs even further. One compelling model is a Maternity Care Home, which augments traditional prenatal care with a broad array of services such as psychosocial support, education and self-care techniques. Colorado is moving toward this model of care.

Healthy Children

Policies that could improve Colorado's grade:

Physical Activity

Two of three Colorado kids get a ride to school -- a missed opportunity for them to be active. Safe routes to walk or bike to school, along with policies and regulations that promote efforts to get students out of cars, could encourage the state's students to be more physically active.

Continue for more results and graphics from the 2015 Colorado Health Report Card, including the complete document. Healthy Adolescents

Policies that could improve Colorado's grade:

Teen Mental Health

Program to Study: Massachusetts Child Psychiatry Access Project (MCPAP)

This program teaches pediatricians strategies for assessing mental health conditions and helps them connect their patients with community-based mental health services. The psychiatrists and psychotherapists consult by telephone with pediatricians to answer questions or to coordinate face-to-face assessments with adolescents who have more serious conditions. MCPAP, with funding from the state Department of Mental Health and some insurance reimbursements, has expanded over the past 10 years. Best practices such as training pediatric primary care providers, age-appropriate mental health screenings, and collaboration between primary care providers and mental health professionals have been identified.

Healthy Adults

Policies that could improve Colorado's grade:

Preventing Diabetes and Hypertension

Program to Study: The Hawaii Diabetes Plan

In 2010, Hawaii ranked 25th nationally for diabetes, with 6.2 percent of adults diagnosed with the condition. With a growing population of pre-diabetics, Hawaii estimated the direct medical cost of diabetes at $964 million. This financial burden prompted the Hawaii Department of Health to launch the Hawaii Diabetes Plan in 2010.8 To support this effort, the Healthy Hawaii Initiative is a health promotion effort designed to increase opportunities for physical activity at school, at work, and in the community. Step it Up Hawaii encourages adults to walk 30 minutes a day. Targeted lifestyle interventions, which mainly focus on physical activity, are aimed at reducing the risk of developing diabetes. Hawaii has improved its rank to 10th nationwide for diabetes.

Continue for more results and graphics from the 2015 Colorado Health Report Card, including the complete document. Healthy Aging

Policies that could improve Colorado's grade:

Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS)

Program to Study:Minnesota's Aging and Disabilities Resource Center Program

Minnesota has developed a seamless system to connect adults with disabilities and seniors to services and supports such as housing and home-delivered meals. State legislation passed in 2009 directed Minnesota's Board of Aging to allocate federal, state and local funds to develop an Aging and Disabilities Resource Center program to coordinate all LTSS.11 The Resource Center provides a searchable website as well as phone and in-person assistance to providers, seniors and family members seeking information, resources and support. The free services are available statewide. A 2012 survey found that more than 87 percent of users said they would recommend the service.

2015 Colorado Health Report Card.pdf

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

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