Colorado's Climate, Landscape Helps Residents Stay Fit

Coveted Low Obesity Ranking

While the impressive Colorado landscape — the state's mountainous regions are six times the size of Switzerland, and include 2,850 lakes — can't hurt in fighting the obesity epidemic that's sweeping the country, city officials and local politicians still do a lot to maintain the title of fittest state in the nation year after year.

"We take the ranking very seriously," said Janet Fritz, marketing director of the Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation. "This is a state of mind here. Our businesses are getting very involved — healthy employees help create lower health care costs. There's a large initiative in the region to maintain that least-obese ranking."

Companies, city officials say, have inquired about relocating to Colorado with the hope of hiring healthier employees, which could decrease the cost of health care.

But there are smaller, more nuanced ways the state tries to remain a permanent fixture on the list of healthiest states.

According to O'Brien, city planners hope to install signs which display the number of steps it takes to get from one building to another in the downtown area, making it easier for residents to track the number of steps they take each day.

She told ABC News that they are even looking into providing Democratic delegates with pedometers during the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

"We're thinking about giving them each pedometers," said O'Brien. "We're trying to walk our talk and show people that even governors or party officials can have fun competing against one another."

But for those who are less inclined to work out in what may seem like a nonstop exercise routine, Denver not only brews more beer than any other city in the nation, but it was also the birthplace of the very first cheeseburger.

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