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Obesity Prevention

Denver Public Health is committed to improving the health of everyone, including those that suffer disproportionately from obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases associated with the lack of healthy eating and active living opportunities. The healthy eating and active living (HEAL) team practices this by focusing on the built environment, policy and systems that have a strong influence on health and obesity prevention.

Obesity in Denver, among both children and adults, is a major public health concern. Childhood obesity often leads to adult obesity, which is linked to chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer and stroke.

During the 2014/2015 school year, 31% of Denver's school-aged children (kindergarten-9th grade) were either overweight or obese, and the percentage of obese adults in Denver more than doubled in the last two decades. Learn more about childhood obesity in Denver.

Healthy Eating, Active Living Programs 

 Reduce Sugary Drink Consumption Increase Fruit and Vegetable Consumption Increase Physical Activity
Healthy Beverage Partnership  Healthy Beverage Partnership Denver Community Active Living Coalition 


Hidden Sugar Campaign Seeks to Educate Parents about High Sugar Content in Juice-Flavored Drinks and Soda

Healthy Beverage Partnership aimed at reducing the risk of childhood obesity across Colorado

Just one 20-ounce juice drink or fruit punch beverage can contain as much sugar as 8-10 chocolate chip cookies or three large donuts. Unfortunately, many parents and caregivers are unaware of this alarming fact, and the high amounts of hidden sugar in the drinks that they give to their children. Learn more about where sugar can hide at The Healthy Beverage Partnership has developed a toolkit to help partner organizations share the campaign message. This toolkit includes English and Spanish templates including a handout/poster, social media posts, newsletter articles, talking points and health facts. Also available to partners is the Healthy Beverage and Food Policy and Practice Toolkit, available to partners who are interested in organizational policy work to increase access to healthy beverages and foods.

Healthy Beverage Partnership Releases Survey Results of Beverage and Food Environment at Community Venues in Denver MetroHealthy Beverage Partnership Logo

To better understand the current beverage and food environment at community venues throughout Denver Metro, Healthy Beverage Partnership (HBP) coalition members conducted a total of 318 assessments. Retail types such as beverage and snack vending machines, cafeterias, concession stands and employee break rooms were included. Of all the beverages surveyed, 72% were categorized as unhealthy according to HBP nutritional standards. 

The assessment results reiterated the need for supporting organizational policy adoption to improve beverage and food offerings. HBP coalition members provide individualized support to organizations to make these improvements. The organizations that make these improvements will be recognized publicly, so that families in Denver Metro are aware that these venues are providing health options for their children. For more information regarding the assessment results, view the full report.

Denver Botanic Gardens Joins Four Prominent Denver Public Venues Partner to Promote Health

The Denver Botanic Gardens is the newest member of the Denver Healthy Cultural Attraction Coalition. Convened by Denver Public Health, the Coalition's founding members include the Children’s Museum of Denver at Marsico Campus, Denver Zoo, History Colorado Center and Denver Museum of Nature & Science. These top cultural attractions have worked together to promote health throughout public venues in Denver since 2015. Last fall, members of the Coalition unveiled GO Foods unified messaging and signage that highlights healthy food and drink choices. The Denver Botanic Gardens will be adding the GO Foods messaging and signage this spring. Read more about this initiative.

Denver Public Health Recognized as Founding Member of Healthy Hospital Compact

Dr. Burman Healthy Hospital Compact Recognition

Denver Public Health Director, Dr. Bill Burman accepted recognition on behalf of the department for being a founding partner of the Colorado Healthy Hospital Compact on Friday, November 14, 2014.

Denver Public Health is proud to join area hospitals and organizations in their commitment to healthier hospital environments in the state of Colorado. Compact members agree to promote healthy food and beverage options in their cafeterias, vending machines and patient menus, as well as support new moms in breastfeeding their babies.

Denver Public Health is committed to patient, employee and visitor health, and is proud to be leading the way towards a healthier community.

New Partnership pledges to study and respond to the health effects of sweetened beverages

Denver Public Health is happy to announce our collaborative effort with Denver Environmental Health, Jefferson County Public Health, Tri-County Health Department, Boulder County Public Health, Broomfield Public Health and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment around healthy beverage consumption. The Denver-Metro Partners for Health Beverage Consumption's purpose is to build our capacity to address policies and practices to increase the consumption of healthy beverages in the Denver-Metro Region.

Youth Coalition

The Denver Public Health youth coalition participates in the Healthy Beverage Partnership efforts and the Denver Community Active Living Coalition, a project of our partners at Denver Environmental Health to promote walkability in Denver. To understand and prioritize community health and mobility improvements in our city, the Denver Public Health HEAL team worked with the youth coalition and partners to collect built environment data from schools and recreation centers around walking, cycling and transit. This was possible by dedicating our time to community engagement and collaboration. Partners in this work include WalkDenver, Safe Routes to Schools and Denver Public Schools.

Because young people are affected by obesity and related issues, the HEAL team initiates programs that address youth populations. Following a positive youth development model, we create ways for young people to participate in designing and implementing those programs. The Public Health Denver Youth Team's mission is to promote healthy lifestyles in the Denver community, while creating young leaders ready to advocate for social justice and health equity. The group is facilitated by Denver Public Health youth advisors, with support from other staff.

Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities

Denver is shifting the environment to support healthy eating, active living and the prevention of childhood obesity in West Denver with support from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's national program, "Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities". Check out this video that highlights some of the Denver Partnership's accomplishments during the grant period.

DPH Sugary Sweetened Beverage Position Statement Intro

Denver Public Health Position Statement on the Dangers of Sugary Drinks to Children

As doctors and public health leaders, we are concerned about the future of Denver’s children and the growing epidemic of childhood obesity in our city.

Denver Public Health, based on unbiased, evidence-based research, declares a warning, supported by doctors and scientists, to the residents of Denver: sugary drinks can lead to tooth decay, type II diabetes, obesity, and other preventable illnesses.

To address this health issue in Denver, Denver Public Health is working to reduce the consumption of sugary drinks through policy, partnerships, systems and environmental changes, as well as through public information educational campaigns.

Read more below to understand the problem, our position and steps we are taking to turn the tide on childhood obesity in Denver.

DPH Sugar Sweetened Position Statement Sections
Chronic Disease Contact

Jennifer Moreland
Chronic Disease Program Manager
(303) 602-3711

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