Chronic disease is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity in Colorado. Chronic disease risk factors are often linked to behaviors established during childhood and adolescence. In Colorado, the burden of chronic disease disproportionately impacts racial/ethnic and lower socioeconomic populations, creating health disparities particularly for children and youth.
Efforts to address health policies, practices, and programs within Colorado school settings and during out-of-school time are important for improving health promoting behaviors and reducing the burden of chronic disease both across the state and with priority populations.
To reduce the burden of chronic disease and associated risk factors, the Colorado Department of Education (CDE) will work in partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) on implementing both statewide and targeted approaches. CDE and CDPHE will bolster the current statewide school health infrastructure to increase healthy eating, physical activity, and management of chronic health conditions during the school day, as well as during out-of-school time. Colorado local education agencies (LEAs) will be provided with quality professional development and technical assistance and at least seven priority LEAs will receive in-depth support for their school health efforts to reduce health disparities.
Over the five-year performance period, there will be an increase the percentage of individuals with skills to improve school health policies and practices, particularly among leaders of school health councils. Colorado will increase the number of schools with healthier food options and schools implementing comprehensive school physical activity programs. Students with chronic health conditions will have increased case management services within their schools and coordinated with the community. Students across Colorado will also consume more fruits and vegetables and will increase their levels of daily physical activity through these efforts in schools and through out-of-school time partnerships.