public health

Take a look at the latest obesity data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and you can see that the country's obesity epidemic is far from over.

Even in Colorado, the state with the lowest rate, 21.3 percent of its population is obese. Arkansas tops the list with 35.9 percent.

tissue box, sick, illness, cold

Delta County is seeing a spike in pertussis, also known as whooping cough, cases. The highly contagious respiratory disease causes uncontrollable coughing and can make it difficult for people to breathe.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says whooping cough can be fatal, especially to young children under a year old.

Between July and August, Delta County saw seven confirmed cases of the disease.

Bonnie Koehler, the deputy director of the county health department, says this uptick in cases is concerning.

The Trading Post in Paonia is the kind of place you might expect to meet people who don’t vaccinate their kids. There’s bulk quinoa on the shelves, local potatoes in baskets and all sorts of sugar and wheat free goodies for sale near the cash register. The whole place has a decidedly crunchy, alternative vibe, and that extends to medicine. The last time I went there, the first three people I talked to told me they didn’t vaccinate their children.

Flickr user El Alvi

Colorado has one of the country's highest rates of un or undervaccinated school children. And some school districts in Western Colorado have rates five times higher than the state average. The majority of those kids have personal belief exemptions, which allow parents to easily opt out of some or all vaccines.

A bill in the statehouse would try to change that by requiring parents to talk to a doctor or watch an online class before signing a personal belief exemption. But a senate committee cut those requirements out of the bill yesterday.