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CDC Expands Initiative to Show Health Impacts on Underserved Communities

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced the expansion of the 500 Cities Project, a 2016 initiative to provide city- and neighborhood-level health estimates for a large portion of the nation’s population. The project is being renamed PLACES, and now provides Population Level Analysis and Community Estimates to the entire United States to show the prevalence of chronic diseases and the health impacts on underserved communities.

Many Americans face health-related challenges like chronic respiratory diseases, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity that put them at increased risk for severe illness from diseases such as COVID-19. The critical information in PLACES can help local and state health departments and community organizations decide where best to target resources to address these health challenges.

“PLACES is truly a game changer,” said CDC Director Robert R. Redfield, M.D. “As our Nation faces an unprecedented health crisis, it is more important than ever to have health information at the local level to help inform decision making. For the first time, we have a wide variety of health data for all smaller cities and rural areas.”

PLACES is the first-of-its-kind effort to release local area health information covering the entire United States, including estimates for smaller cities and rural areas that were previously unavailable. The project is a partnership between the CDC, the CDC Foundation, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

PLACES provides data estimates for 27 health measures for four U.S. geographic levels: counties, incorporated and census-designated places, census tracts, and zip codes. The chronic disease measures focus on health outcomes, unhealthy behaviors, and prevention practices that have a substantial impact on people’s health. These estimates are available through a public, interactive PLACES website that allows users to view, explore, and download data for all populated areas in the United States.

“The 500 Cities project demonstrated the powerful role local data can play in improving health in cities across the U.S.,” said Richard Besser, MD, president and chief executive officer of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “PLACES data will arm communities of all sizes with data that allows them to explore the interplay between where you live and the social factors that can help create fair and just opportunities for health and wellbeing.”

PLACES data can be used to:

  • Inform target prevention activities, programs, and policies;
  • Identify emerging health problems and priority health risk behaviors;
  • Identify and understand geographic health-related issues;
  • Establish key health goals; and
  • Identify geographic disparities in health among and within communities to inform strategies that address health equity.

“We are so pleased to be a partner in the PLACES project, which is an important expansion of the work of 500 Cities,” said Judy Monroe, MD, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. “The inclusion of data from both smaller cities and rural areas will provide critical information on key health risk factors for all communities across the country.”

To learn more about PLACES, visit www.cdc.gov/places.

Read more at CDC

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