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FAQs: General

When were the data made accessible?

In December of 2016 the data were published online through the CDC Chronic Data Portal.  In March of 2017 the interactive web application was deployed.  The interactive application enables the retrieval, visualization, and exploration of uniformly-defined selected city and tract-level data for the 500 largest US cities.

The data were initially updated in November of 2017 for 20 of the 27 measures. The estimates for adults aged ≥18 years are based on data from the 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). The 20 measures that have 2015 updates available include the following:

Health Outcomes Prevention Unhealthy Behaviors
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer (excluding skin cancer)
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Current asthma
  • Diagnosed diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol among adults aged ≥18 years who have been screened in the past 5 years
  • Mental health not good for ≥14 days
  • Physical health not good for ≥14 days
  • Stroke
  • Cholesterol screening
  • Current lack of health insurance among adults aged 18–64 years
  • Taking medicine for high blood pressure control among those with high blood pressure
  • Visits to doctor for routine checkup within the past year
  • Binge drinking
  • Current smoking
  • No leisure-time physical activity
  • Obesity

Seven of the 27 measures based on BRFSS data are only included in even-year BRFSS administration; therefore, it is not possible to update these 7 measures. These measures are: all teeth lost, dental visits, mammograms, pap tests, colorectal cancer screening, core preventive services among older adults, and sleep less than 7 hours. However, earlier estimates based on 2014 BRFSS data for these 7 measures remain available.

CDC updated the 500 Cities data for a second time in December of 2018.  Twenty-three of the measures are based on data from the 2016 BRFSS.  Four of the 27 measures are only included in odd-year BRFSS administration; therefore, it was not possible to update these 4 measures.  However, earlier estimates based on 2015 BRFSS data for these 4 measures remain available. These measures are: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cholesterol screening, and taking medicine for high blood pressure control among those with high blood pressure.

What is the suggested citation for 500 Cities?

The suggested citation is:  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Population Health. 500 Cities Project Data [online]. 2018 [accessed Oct 23, 2018]. URL: