Lifestyle Risk Factors

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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.

We Track That

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.

Types of Data

The Tracking Network hosts the following lifestyle risk factor data. Data sources include CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, CDC’s Population Level Analysis and Community Estimates (PLACES) Project, and the U.S. Census Bureauexternal icon. These data are available at the state, county, or census tract level for all 50 states.

  • Alcohol Use: This indicator shows the crude and age-adjusted rates of adults who report binge drinking (men: five or more drinks; women: four or more drinks) on one occasion within the past 30 days.
  • Overweight and Obesity: This indicator shows the prevalence of those who are overweight or obese.
  • Physical Activity: This indicator shows the crude and age-adjusted rates of adults who report not participating in leisure-time physical activities or exercise during the past month.
  • Sleep: This indicator shows the crude and age-adjusted rates of adults who report usually getting insufficient sleep, defined as less than 7 hours, on average, during a 24-hour period.
  • Smoking: This indicator shows the prevalence of current and former smokers.
Data Highlight
Icons representing people with 7 out of 10 colored green

Each year, chronic diseases cause 7 of 10 deaths among Americans. Heart disease, cancer, and stroke account for more than 50% of all deaths each year.

Data in Action

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.

Minnesota | Oregon

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Tracking Resources

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Page last reviewed: October 21, 2020