For a state often regarded as the "leanest" and "most active" in the country, Colorado falls short by many important health measures.
Our health grades haven't improved much since the Colorado Health Foundation issued its first Report Card in 2006. The grade for Healthy Beginnings remained unchanged at a mediocre C. During the past year, Healthy Children improved marginally to a C-. At the same time, grades for Healthy Adolescents and Healthy Adults stalled at B- and B respectively. Meanwhile, the grade for Healthy Aging fell from an A- in 2010 to a B in 2011.
Just as we would expect better grades from students, Coloradans should expect better results in the 38 health indicators for all five life stages. Though new national and local policy reforms are designed to extend coverage and quality care for underserved Coloradans, collective impact requires time and patience. Furthermore, it will take the continued efforts of health care providers, business and community leaders, and families working together to drive demand for effective new policies and to encourage health-conscious behaviors that ensure a healthier future for Colorado.
Report Card in Motion
The financial downturn amplifies the importance of finding ways to cut costs and reduce demand for health care services. While maintaining and improving the quality of health care is an important factor in containing costs, prevention can reduce costs and demand for services while improving health. For these reasons, a clear understanding of the promise of prevention is key to garnering support for public health interventions among community leaders and policymakers.
"Prevention: Strong Investments in Colorado's Health," a special supplement to the 2011 Colorado Health Report Card, highlights prevention initiatives that align with Report Card indicators. The selected initiatives realize cost savings, while maintaining quality. This report profiles the impact of these initiatives on Coloradans and identifies opportunities for future investments as well.