DENVER. Among big cities, Denver ranks both high and low on health indicators (Denver Business Journal)

By Ed Sealover

Denver is one of the best big cities in the country for preventing infectious disease and keeping adults thin, but its residents binge-drink and smoke at some of the highest rates in America as well, according to a set of data released Tuesday.

The Big Cities Health Coalition compared 28 of the country’s largest cities on 17,000 data points to produce the Big Cities Health Inventory Data Platform. The project is one of the most comprehensive comparisons of health and life assembled on major cities, combining information on cities whose populations comprise one-sixth of the population of the United States.

“Cities can easily look at their peers to determine who’s ahead of the field and ask why,” said Chrissie Juliano, director of the coalition that used funding largely from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to assemble the numbers. “Without this information, policies can neither be targeted to those in need, nor can the implications of those policies be measured.”

In most categories — based now on 2013 numbers but expected to be updated with 2014 numbers within the next six months — Denver placed close to the middle of the pack. Not all 28 cities are represented in every category.

However, it stood out in a few areas — more typically for positive health attributes but also in a couple of instances for rankings that city leaders likely want to change.

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