If you needed more evidence that Colorado is a healthy place to live, the latest report on cancer statistics confirm it.

The state’s cancer rates for 2002 were about 6 percent lower than the national average, likely keeping Colorado among the lowest two or three states, just below Utah, said Jack Finch, statistical analyst with the Colorado Cancer Registry.

Experts link our low cancer rate to the state’s low obesity numbers. If you needed another reason to go on a diet or get to the gym, here it is:

Obesity is associated with cancers of the breast, particularly after menopause, as well as the colon, kidney, esophagus and liver.

Another reason is the state’s large — 19 percent — hispanic population.

Doctors aren’t sure why Hispanics have the lowest cancer mortality rate among the ethnic groups, but the CU Cancer Center is involved in a study to try to find out.

Deaths from cancer have been dropping consistently at the rate of 2 percent a year.