FAQ: Population and Measure Questions

The selected set of measures are based on chronic disease public health priorities and impact. The measures include the risk behaviors that cause much of the illness, suffering, and early death related to chronic diseases and conditions, as well as the conditions and diseases that are the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems.

Most measures included in the Project reflect the work of the Chronic Disease Indicators project, which is a partnership between CDC, the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors and the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists. Many of our colleagues at state health departments across the country were engaged in the process of arriving at comprehensive measure definitions that include the background, significance, limitations of the indicator, data source, and limitations of the data resources. The definitions for the measures used in the 500 Cities project are the same as those for CDI for all but a handful of measures.

Because we rely on the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which only surveys adults aged ≥18 years, we only computed estimates for that population. We could not produce estimates for people aged 17 years and younger.

Although the social determinants of health are very important factors, the aim of the 500 Cities Project is to estimate prevalence of behavioral risk factors, health outcomes, and preventive services.

Such exposures are not explicitly modeled; however, their effects are statistically captured in the modeling by the inclusion of county- and state-level contextual (fixed and random) effects.

The 500 Cities does not include any stratifications by race/ethnicity. However, to the extent that populations within census tracts tend to be relatively homogeneous, geographic disparities by census tract may be somewhat reflective of racial/ethnic disparities.