The Last Lean Americans
October 1, 2010
by Lindsey Koehler
Walk down just about any street in Denver or Boulder and you’ll see the evidence: Skinny people are everywhere. Young, slender women in yoga pants. Athletic-looking men in form-fitting T-shirts. Retirees out for a morning jog in Wash Park. It’s long been known—and proven time and again—that Coloradans (especially in the Denver metro area and the mountain counties) tread more lightly on the scale than almost any other American population. It’s true that on other streets in other cities in other states, time and again—that Coloradans tread more lightly on the scale than the residents of almost any other American state. On other streets in other cities in other states, the battle that Americans are losing with obesity is much more evident—and dire. The muffin-tops, the beer bellies, the thunder thighs: All are ubiquitous signs that Americans are facing an epidemic of flab. So why are Coloradans faring better?
The answer to that question is more complicated than one might think. When Washington, D.C.–based nonprofit Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released their “F as in Fat” report in June of this year, the fact that Colorado’s obesity rates were the lowest in the country was big news. “I think some people see a report like that and think it’s cause for celebration,” says Maren Stewart, the president and CEO of LiveWell Colorado, a nonprofit focused on reducing obesity. “But if you dig deeper, I see it as a cause for concern.”
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