The Last Lean Americans

Colorado’s obesity rates are the lowest in the country—but are we really as healthy as we think? Plus: We surveyed 400 Coloradans about their everyday health habits to see how—and why—our state has stayed on the good side of skinny.

October 2010


What kind of diet do you generally adhere to?
I’m a meat and potatoes kinda person (omnivore): 56 percent

Only veggies and grains for me please (vegetarian): 10 percent
Nothing that comes from anything with a face or that has a mother (vegan): 1 percent
Other: 33 percent (nearly all respondents who chose “other” would fall into the omnivore category)

When you go food shopping, what is your goal as far as healthy eating goes?
I look at every label for calories, fat, and suspect ingredients: 21 percent
I do my best to make healthy choices, but I’m no saint: 72 percent
I buy food that I like and don’t worry about the rest: 7 percent

Where do you shop for food most frequently?
Natural foods markets (Whole Foods Market, Vitamin Cottage, Sunflower Farmers Market): 23 percent
Farmers’ markets when available: 4 percent
Grocery chains (Safeway, King Soopers): 73 percent

What kind of food do you buy?
I try to buy local: 13 percent
I try to buy organic: 6 percent
I try to buy organic, natural, and local (anything that seems to offer less human intervention): 40 percent
Based on taste and preference rather than type or where it comes from: 28 percent
Whatever is cheapest: 13 percent

How often do you eat out?
Almost every night: 1 percent
A couple of times a week: 33 percent
Once a week: 42 percent
Very rarely: 24 percent

***Fast Fact: According to the National Restaurant Association, the average American eats out at a restaurant 4.7 times a week.

How often do you eat fast food?
Every day: 1 percent
Once a week: 30 percent
Once a month: 45 percent
Never: 24 percent

**Fast Fact: Numbers vary, but according to Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal by Eric Schlosser, the average American eats three hamburgers and four orders of fries every week.

How many meals do you eat a day?
Three squares: 39 percent
Five or six small meals throughout the day: 34 percent
I only eat when I’m hungry: 27 percent

If looking for a snack, which of the following would you most likely reach for?
Carrot sticks and maybe some hummus: 27 percent
An energy bar: 18 percent
Cheese and crackers: 36 percent
Cheetos and potato chips: 7 percent
I almost never snack between meals: 12 percent

How important is healthy eating in your family?
Extremely important—we do our best to make only healthy meal choices (low fat, low sodium, low everything) and rarely eat dessert: 12 percent
Important—but we also indulge in a scoop of ice cream every now and again: 79 percent
Less important—we don’t really go to any extra effort to eat healthy: 9 percent

Have you ever dieted?
No: 22 percent
I’ve never tried a specific diet but I’ve tried to lose weight by exercising and eating right: 37 percent
I’ve tried the occasional diet here and there: 37 percent
I’ve tried every fad diet on the market: 4 percent