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.