A CEO’s Insights

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Looking to Get Fit? Look West to Colorado for Inspiration

A New Year typically means that it’s time for a fresh start and some new resolutions. According to the University of Scranton Journal of Clinical Psychology, losing weight ranks first for popular resolutions of 2014, with 38 percent of Americans setting weight-related goals.

For Americans looking for inspiration on how to stay fit in 2014, they only have to look west to Colorado, which ranks first in the United States for lowest obesity prevalence among adults at 26 percent below the national average. The state also ranks first in participation of physical activities with 62 percent of adults reporting they participate in moderate to vigorous physical activity each week, taking advantage of our four-season climate and active outdoor lifestyle.

The Colorado outlook on health and wellness has turned so many heads nationwide that weight-loss experts James O. Hill, Ph.D. and Holly Wyatt, M.D. recently published the book, State of Slim, which teaches readers how to fix their metabolisms by going on the “Colorado diet.”

Leading the charge against obesity, Dr. Hill has chosen to research weight loss in Colorado primarily because there are so many people here doing it right. Dr. Hill has spent 20 years researching the Mile-High Metabolism, now conducted at the Anschutz Health and Wellness Center at the University of Colorado, which opened in April 2012.

The 95,000-square-foot, LEED Gold-certified building is a one-of-a-kind facility featuring a demo kitchen, bistro with prepared State of Slim meals, a King Soopers grocery lab, state-of-the-art body analysis machinery, and a new breed of cardiovascular and strength training machines that personalize workouts to each member’s individualized digital key.

The Center was selected as the medical, weight loss and nutrition services partner for the fourth season of ABC’s hit series Extreme Weight Loss, which is estimated to bring in $5 million of economic activity to the Metro Denver region. Stay tuned this May to see the center featured throughout the season.

So, what factors make up our Mile-High Metabolism, which is the envy of the rest of the nation? According to Dr. Hill and the State of Slim, Coloradoans take initiative by following the six strategies listed below.

  1. Being active every day - Coloradoans took 1,000 additional steps each day compared to the rest of the nation according to a Harris Polls study, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
  2. Fueling up on real food - Coloradoans love to eat but they are more selective about their food. While many identify as “foodies,” they also place an emphasis on quality of food, not quantity.
  3. Creating our own healthy environment - While the Rocky Mountains are as majestic as they say, most of us aren’t typically hiking up the peaks every day before breakfast. However, we are likely to rub elbows with a triathlete, trail runner, hiker or coach most places we go. Harvard University did a study where they found that people in the same social network tended to have similar body mass indices and it is clear that the “social circle effect” is in full swing for our state.
  4. Staying true to our purpose - Here in Colorado, we associate our inner purpose with our wellness goals. Being in shape physically gives us the energy and confidence to do the things that are most important to us in our Colorado lifestyle.
  5. Believing you can succeed- Research psychologist Barbara Fredrickson, PhD, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill says cultivating a positive mind-set can enhance relationships, improve work performance, and contribute to general health. Given more than 36 percent of Colorado's residents have a bachelor's degree or higher, which gives our state the country's second-most highly educated workforce, the healthy lifestyle has a clear connection to success for Coloradoans.
  6. Making healthy living fun - This is the Colorado secret and where the Colorado Diet takes a different approach to health and wellness.

Living in Colorado encourages us all to have a healthier outlook on life, and with Energetic Bodies comes Energetic Minds – our overall regional brand here at the Metro Denver EDC. The good news? You do not have to be in Colorado to take part of our lifestyle. (Though we sure encourage it!)


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About Phil Kalin

Phil Kalin joined Pinnacol Assurance as CEO in 2013. He has served as the chief executive of both public and privately-backed companies, including large hospital systems, as well as organizations focused on health care data, technology and education. He has been active nationally on health care topics related to insurance, data analytics, technology innovation, cost improvement and risk mitigation. Phil is providing an informed opinion on what we see in the Monthly Economic Indicators.

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About Pinnacol

Pinnacol Assurance is the Metro Denver EDC's Research Sponsor. Pinnacol is Colorado’s leading provider of workers’ compensation insurance. Pinnacol provides comprehensive, competitively priced coverage; immediate attention to claims; a highly qualified network of medical providers; and proactive safety programs to more than 55,000 Colorado businesses. Annually, Pinnacol supports nearly $500 million of Colorado’s economic activity, spends over 35,000 hours keeping Colorado worksites safe and provides compassionate care to over 40,000 Coloradans injured on the job.

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