Healthy Eating Active Living

Childhood obesity is a major cause for concern because of the strong linkage between childhood and adult obesity, and the correlations between obesity and chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and stroke.

Although Denver’s rate of obesity for adults is lower than for the U.S. as a whole, it has more than doubled in the last two decades. The rate has grown from 10% in 1990 to 20% in 2009. Denver’s rates of overweight and obesity for children are already similar to the national rates, and will soon translate into higher rates for all age groups until action is taken to reverse the trends. During the 2012/2013 school year, 31% of Denver’s school-aged children (kindergarten through 9th grade) were either overweight or obese, consistent with the national average of 33%.

By December of 2018, the five-year Healthy Eating and Active Living (HEAL) goal is to increase the percentage of children and adolescents in Denver who are at a healthy weight by five percentage points.

Food Systems Policy

In December 2014, Denver Environmental Health released a report regarding food policies in Denver.  Improving population health requires a whole food system approach and including health considerations in all policies. To move toward collective impact the City and County of Denver and its partners need to create a common agenda and a unified food system vision. Multiple City agencies and affiliates are already working together and invested in creating an innovative food economy across the food policy domains included in this report. A coordinated approach across the City to align plans and proposed goals of each agency through a strategic food action plan, can facilitate both the supply and demand for healthy and local foods that could result in positive health, economic and environmental sustainability outcomes.

View the Food Policy report here.


The HEAL Task Force identified seven objectives in order to increase the percentage of children in Denver who are at a healthy weight by five percentage points by December 2018.

How To: Sell fresh produce from your yard! In 2014, Denver passed an ordinance to allow small-scale preparation and sales of food.  See this handout for tips and how to get a permit.

Map: Distance to Full Service Grocery Stores in Denver View the map here detailing the distance to full service grocery stores in Denver.

Map: Distance to Full Service Grocery Stores by Neighborhood in Denver   View the map here.

Denver Vital Signs: Denver Vital Signs is an electronic newsletter published bi-monthly highlighting important health topics in brief, ‘bite-sized’ amounts. View the January 2013 edition spotlighting Childhood Obesity in English and Spanish.

Assessment of the Food and Beverage Environment in Parks and Recreation Facilities
Colorado School of Public Health students led this phase one assessment of the food and beverage environments at a sample of recreations centers.  The assessment looked at many factors in the food/beverage environment and included patron and staff intercept surveys. This report and the executive summary from May 2014 details the findings.

Body Mass Index Surveillance in Colorado Public Schools  This report is part of the effort by LiveWell Colorado to capture more information about the state of BMI surveillance in Colorado. Information collected for this report spans June 2013 - November 2013. It aims to summarize a sample of the work that Colorado schools and districts are conducting in regards to BMI data collection for children. Although it is not a comprehensive reports for all school districts in the state, it includes a wide variety of schools from small rural districts to large urban districts. The information can be used as a resource for school districts and public health officials weighing the pros and cons of conducting BMI screenings in a school setting.

Denver Public Schools Preliminary Weight Status Report   Between the fall of 2007 and spring 2013, the Denver Public Schools (DPS) Department of Nursing and Student Health Services recorded height and weight measures of students and calculated BMI and BMI percentiles. View the DPS Preliminary Weight Status Report.

The Be Healthy Denver team would like to thank the following HEAL Task Force Members for their important work in developing the CHIP and the HEAL Action Plan:

Doug Linkhart, Co-Chair, Denver Environmental Health
Dale Flanders, Co-Chair, Kaiser Permanente
Andrea Albo, City and County of Denver, Department of Human Services
Dave Bechhoefer, Lowry Family Center
Olga Garcia, Denver Health
Narada Golden, YR&G
Gabriel Guillaume, LiveWell Colorado
Greg Gutierrez, Denver Health
James Hill, University of Colorado, Colorado Nutrition Obesity Research Center
Cerise Hunt, University of Colorado, Center for Public Health
Mondi Mason, Denver Environmental Health
Stacey McConlogue, Denver Environmental Health
Jini Puma, Rocky Mountain Prevention Research Center
Gordon Robertson, City and County of Denver, Parks and Recreation Department
Lisana Rojas, City and County of Denver, Department of Human Services
Kendra Sandoval, City and County of Denver, Denver Seeds Program
Michele Shimomura, Denver Environmental Health
Christopher Smith, Colorado Health Foundation
Janine Solano, Denver Health
Shawn St. Sauveur, Denver Public Schools
Zach Taylor, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Region VIII
Beth Truby, City and County of Denver, Office of Economic Development
Robin Valdez, Denver Environmental Health
Jennifer Wieczorek, Denver Public Health

News & Information

CHIP 2014 Progress Report - Thursday, January 15, 2015
Community Health Improvement Plan 2014 Annual Progress Report- At the end of each year and periodically during the year we will release a progress update that shows our efforts and progress on all of the strategies in the 5 work group areas: Access to Care, Child Care, Schools, Community, and Government.  Here is the 2014 Annual CHIP Progress Report! 

Progress of Denver Residents Enrolling in Health Care Coverage - Friday, November 14, 2014

Denver has achieved great success in expanding coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2014. In just nine months, nearly 63,000 uninsured Denver residents have acquired coverage, and Denver’s rate of coverage has increased from 83% to nearly 93%! We are well on our way to reaching Denver's Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) goal of 94% coverage! We have an opportunity to continue to expand coverage through open enrollment, November 15, 2014 through February 15, 2015.


Food System Policies Report Released - Thursday, December 18, 2014
Denver's Environmental Health completed Food System Policies and Population Health: Moving Toward Collective Impact. The report provides an overview of the activities by multiple City and County of Denver agencies to address some aspect of the food system – from production, distribution and retail to consumption and composting. The report identifies and prioritizes food policy options that offer the greatest potential to impact population health.