Childhood Obesity Data Initiative

Clinical and Community Data Initiative

CDC’s Clinical and Community Data Initiative (CODI) worked to improve data capacity for childhood obesity research, program evaluation and public health surveillance.

The Issue

Childhood obesity impacts almost 14 million children in the U.S.

Obesity Burden

Childhood obesity impacts almost 14 million children in the U.S. and is associated with serious immediate and long-term problems including poor mental and physical health outcomes and lower academic achievement.


Research that assesses childhood obesity interventions is limited because researchers cannot easily link pediatric health-related data stored across different health information systems to assess what interventions are effective.

The Data Challenge

Research that assesses childhood obesity interventions is limited because researchers cannot easily link pediatric health-related data stored across different health information systems to assess what interventions are effective.

Child health data, including clinical information, social health determinants, weight management programs, and geographic markers are maintained throughout communities in many separate information systems operated by hospitals, provider networks, and clinical and community-based programs.

The CODI Solution

To improve data capacity for childhood obesity research, CODI leveraged existing information technology tools in innovative ways to facilitate access to childhood obesity data across health systems and sectors.

CODI will bring together data stored across different organizations to create an individual-level, linked longitudinal record.

CODI worked to bring together data stored across different organizations to create an individual-level, linked longitudinal record. This record included individual and community-level risk factors, weight management interventions delivered in clinical and community settings, and clinical outcomes across health information systems.

Building The Solution

Broader Access to Standardized Data

CODI built on the existing, clinically focused Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Network (PCORnet) Common Data Model (CDM). CODI piloted improved access to information about social determinants of health, geographic risk markers, participation in clinical and community weight management programs.

Privacy Preserving Record Linkage

CODI helped researchers to link a child’s records across health information systems and community-based programs while protecting individuals’ personally-identifiable information. Through Privacy Preserving Record Linkage (PPRL), a child’s information is encoded in a secure, private format behind a firewall prior to sharing, through a process called data hashing. CODI used these hashed data to link records across systems and programs.

CODI will build on the existing, clinically focused Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Network (PCORnet) Common Data Model (CDM) by piloting -through the addition of ancillary tables to the CDM-improved access to social determinants of health, geographic risk markers, and information about participation in clinical and community weigh management programs.

Distributed Data Network

CODI helped scientists and researchers to query information from multiple data sources across IT systems and sectors to create a more comprehensive longitudinal record about a child.

DI will allow scientists and researchers to query information from multiple data sources across IT systems and sectors to create a more comprehensive longitudinal record about a child.

Piloting The Solution

CODI was piloted in Denver, Colorado using the Colorado Health Observation Regional Data Service (CHORDS). CHORDS operates a PCORnet-compatible data model called the CHORDS Virtual Data Warehouse.

Pilot participants included Denver Health, Children’s Hospital Colorado, and Kaiser Permanente Colorado.

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