Bent County is located along the Arkansas River Valley in southeastern Colorado. The nearest metropolitan area is Pueblo, which is about one and a half hours away. The closest major metropolitan area is Denver, which is 3 hours away. According to the most recent statistics Bent County is home to 6,347 residents.
Las Animas is the county seat of Bent County and is the largest town in this frontier. The majority of acreage in this county is sustained economically by one type of agriculture or another. Many residents still till the ground on the family farm or run cattle on pasture that has been in the family for generations. In recent research we’ve found that a lot of city residents dig deep in their roots to put healthy food on the table by growing their own produce in the back yard.
Bent County also boasts economic resources in the form of one prison system. Bent County Correctional Facility is privately owned and operated and is located in the southeastern section and within the city limits of Las Animas.
Bent County is in a crisis. Statistics show a high prevalence of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and a high rate of tobacco and alcohol usage. Nearly 50 percent of the population is either uninsured or underinsured. Because we are a small, rural community, we have limited health care options, few opportunities to educate our residents about health disparities and are falling prey to rising percentages of deaths to disease that should be preventable.
LiveWell Bent County has been in existence for the past four years. We’ve been successful in building capacity, implementing policy, and creating opportunities for residents to improve health and wellness. Next steps for the initiative include: continue to foster partnerships, assess community needs, and encourage healthy eating and active living through a multi-sectoral approach.
Bent County Public Health
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