Stress in Denver

Work, the economy and money remain the most often cited causes of stress reported by Denver residents*, with relationship issues and health concerns (both personal and family) increasing as significant sources of stress over the past year. The percentage of adults in Denver who characterize their own health as excellent or very good has declined significantly over the past year, and the proportion saying they have been told by a health care professional that they are overweight/obese or have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes has significantly increased.

Stress About Money in the Mile-High City

  • Roughly one-quarter of Denver residents (24 percent) say they have a great deal of stress in their daily lives (an 8, 9 or 10 on a 10-point scale), down from 35 percent of residents last year. Still, half of all residents (48 percent) say their stress level has increased over the past year. 

  • Mirroring reports from the rest of the nation, money (73 percent), work (71 percent) and the economy (68 percent) continued to be the most commonly reported sources of stress for people in Denver (77 percent of Denver residents cited money as a source of stress, 80 percent cited work and 59 percent cited the economy in 2009). Meanwhile, relationships (59 percent in 2010 vs. 44 percent in 2009), personal health concerns (55 percent in 2010 vs. 38 percent in 2009) and family health concerns (55 percent in 2010 vs. 37 percent in 2009) grew as reported sources of stress for adults in Denver over the past year. 

  • Since 2009, reported job satisfaction has improved significantly, with 72 percent of working residents saying they are  satisfied with their job, up from 60 percent. However, almost half of all employed Denver residents also say they are stressed at work (47 percent). 

  • The percentage of residents who feel they are doing enough to manage their stress has increased since last year (60 percent vs. 52 percent). But almost one-quarter of residents (24 percent) say they are not doing enough to manage their stress.

More Report Health Problems

While the majority of adults in Denver say they exercise and eat a healthy diet, many say that they don’t have enough time to make the lifestyle and behavior changes recommended by a health care provider, and personal reports show that some aspects of their health are on the decline.

  • The percentage of adults who say they are in excellent or very good health has dropped in the past year, from 49 percent to 38 percent. 

  • The proportion of those who report having been told by a health care professional that they are overweight or obese has increased significantly over the past year (28 percent in 2009 compared with 38 percent in 2010). And the number told by a health care provider that they have type 2 diabetes has tripled, from 4 percent in 2009 to 13 percent in 2010. Both rates are higher than those reported by the general population — 25 percent of Americans report that a health care provider has told them they are obese and 8 percent have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. 

  • Four in 10 (43 percent) say they have been told by a health care provider to exercise more and 42 percent have had a health care provider recommend losing weight. Three in 10 (30 percent) report having been told to eat a healthier diet. 

  • The majority of Denver residents say they eat healthy food very often, almost always or always (56 percent). In addition, 62 percent say they exercise several times per week or more. 

  • Denver residents are more likely than Americans overall (64 percent vs. 48 percent) to say they exercise or walk to relieve stress. 

  • Denver residents who exercise once a week or more are more likely to say that physical activity gives them energy (58 percent vs. 47 percent of Americans who exercise with the same frequency), helps them manage their stress (52 percent vs. 41 percent) and makes them feel alert (45 percent vs. 31 percent).

Barriers to Change

  • One in four Denver residents cite a lack of time (26 percent) and lack of willpower (26 percent) most frequently as barriers to making the lifestyle changes recommended to them by a health care provider. The percentage citing lack of time rose from last year (up from 17 percent) while the percentage citing lack of willpower fell (down from 34 percent). 

  • Two-thirds (65 percent) of Denver residents feel that getting enough sleep is extremely or very important but only one in four (26 percent) feel they are doing an excellent or very good job of it. Denver residents are more likely than Americans overall to say they have experienced fatigue as a result of stress in the past month (53 percent vs. 41 percent). 

  • Managing stress is a close second in terms of the gap between importance and achievement; while six in 10 (62 percent) feel it is important, only half as many (31 percent) admit they do an excellent/very good job managing their stress.

Easygoing Attitude?

On the whole, Denver residents regard themselves as being pretty “laid back.” More than half (53 percent) feel that phrase describes them well, very well or completely, and another 38 percent feel it describes them at least somewhat.

*This section of the report focuses only on the views of residents within the Denver MSA (2009 n=202; 2010 n=206) and the general population (2009 n=1,568; 2010 n=1,134).