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Vital Signs:
The Influence of Race, Place, and Income on Colorado's Health

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Vital Signs

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The Influence of Race, Place and Income on Colorado’s Health

Though Colorado has made significant gains in providing health coverage to its residents and boasts the lowest obesity rate in the country, data shows that not every Coloradan currently has access, means and opportunity to be the healthiest person they can be.

Our health is considerably influenced by a number of factors outside the doctor’s office. It’s estimated that more than half of our health and wellbeing is driven by the lottery of life — that is, our access to income and opportunity, and the places we live, learn, work and play. As Colorado strives to be one of the healthiest states in the country, it’s clear that the health of Coloradans cannot be addressed by health care alone.

determinants of health

Determinants of Health

It’s estimated that about three-quarters of population health is driven by the following social determinants of health:

  • Social characteristics and social environment such as income, race/ethnicity, discrimination;
  • Physical environment such as where a person lives and works and quality of housing; and
  • Medical care such as access to health care coverage and quality health care.

Genes, biology and health behaviors together account for about 25 percent of population health.

 

Produced by the Colorado Center on Law and Policy, Vital Signs highlights the dramatic influence of race, place and income on health outcomes. This report also shows how addressing these disparities would enable more Coloradans to maximize their health and wellbeing while building a vibrant and sustainable economy. Income related policies are also public health policies.

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