Mesa County on List of Fattest Counties in State

By: Jeff Morrow Email
By: Jeff Morrow Email

A new study shows obesity rates are climbing in Colorado, especially amongst adults and children in low–income families.

According to the report obesity rates among adults who did not graduate from high school are 11 percent higher than those who attended four or more years of college. The report also found the obesity rate is eight percent higher among Coloradans who make less than $25,000 a year than those who make more than $75,000.

The study lists Mesa County one of the fattest counties in Colorado. Mesa County resident David Hamilton says, "That does surprise me." His wife Jenny says otherwise. She says, "I don't know. It doesn't really surprise me cause I know that Summit County is I think the skinniest county in Colorado, and they got people that constantly go out to do stuff and here it just doesn't seem as much of a priority to people."

But officials with the Mesa County Health Department says exercise is only half the battle. Mesa County's obesity rate in adults was 21% almost 5% higher than the obesity rate in Colorado. Karen Milbanks with the Mesa County Health Department says it also has a lot to do with what people eat and if they are a low income family. She says, "When our low income families try to access food or go to the grocery store they often find that the healthier foods like fresh fruits, fresh vegetables are more expensive. They'll find themselves purchasing the highly processed foods and they're high in fat and empty calories and those things contribute to obesity."

The study also states that exercise for low-income families is less than those making more. One reason the study sights is fear of violence in low-income neighborhoods. Parents fear allowing kids to play in those neighborhoods.

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