Lifestyle Risk Factors
Chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. When examining chronic diseases and their potential connection to the environment, it is important to consider lifestyle risk factors that could play a role in their development. Four personal behaviors that can affect chronic diseases are: lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol use.
Lifestyle risk factor data on the Tracking Network can be used by public health professionals to determine if certain health outcomes are related to the environment or if they could also be due to lifestyle risk factors such as smoking and lack of physical activity. The data can also be used by public health officials to determine the best public health actions to reduce modifiable lifestyle risk factors in their communities.
The lifestyle risk factor data available on the Tracking Network include the following.
Prevalence of Smoking
This indicator estimates the percentage of adults who smoke by state. The data are collected from CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. These data can be used to identify current smokers, ever smokers, and former smokers by state and demographic factors, such as age, gender, and race/ethnicity. These data is available at the state level.
Physical Activity – 500 Cities
The primary data sources are the CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, the Census 2010 population, and the American Community Survey estimates. The data shows crude rate of physical activity for specific cities or neighborhoods within cities.
Overweight and Obesity
This indicator estimates the percentage of adults who report being overweight or obese by state. The data are collected from CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System. These data can be used to identify trends and patterns in the prevalence of overweight and obesity by state, by factors such as age, race, gender, and education level, and to highlight populations in need of targeted interventions.
These data can be used to:
- Identify environmental relationships that warrant further investigation or environmental public health action
- Formulate planning and evaluating efforts to reduce health burden
- Show differences of prevalence between geographic areas
- Highlight populations in need of targeted interventions
Read these success stories to learn about lifestyle risk factors related work happening in our funded Tracking Programs.
- Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)
- Division of Population Health
- Healthy Communities Program
- Office on Smoking and Health
- Prevention Research Centers