The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said that part of the reason obesity prevalence is lower in Colorado than in other states could be Denver’s altitude.
According to recently released CDC figures from its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Vital Signs report, Colorado has the lowest obesity rate in the United States, at 18.7 percent.
In a conference call with reporters to discuss the report, director of CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity division William Dietz said: “Two-thirds of Colorado live in Denver, which as you know is the mile high city. And we do know that people who live at altitude have to spend more energy on a daily basis in terms of their cardio-respiratory effects just to breathe and even physical activity requires more energy. So, from the individual point of view or the metabolic point of view, altitude may be one partial explanation.”
In addition, he said that heavy investment in infrastructure to support physical activity in Colorado could also play a role.