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New and Improved Chronic Disease Indicators

Posted By Sara Huston, Thursday, January 15, 2015
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CSTE, along with our partners CDC and National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD), is excited to share the release of two new important tools for chronic disease surveillance: 1) the MMWR Recommendations and Reports “Indicators for Chronic Disease Surveillance — United States, 2013” and 2) the redesigned CDC Chronic Disease Indicators website. These tools are products of a multi-year collaborative effort between CDC, CSTE, and NACDD to review and update the Chronic Disease Indicators (CDIs), which were first adopted in 1999.
The MMWR publication details the history of the CDIs and the process we went through in this most recent update. Did you know that the CDI work has been a successful collaboration between CSTE, CDC, and NACDD since way back in the mid-1990s? Many CSTE members dedicated their time and provided their expertise to help with this most recent CDI revision process – serving on or even chairing the content-specific working groups, or participating in the 2013 CSTE position statement process that officially adopted the newly revised CDIs. All the working group members are acknowledged in the MMWR. Thank you for your contributions!

The MMWR publication also highlights the major areas of change to the CDIs and provides detailed technical definitions – including numerator, denominator, and data sources – for each of the 124 indicators in 18 topic groups. The detailed definitions will enable epidemiologists to create estimates that are consistent with the data that CDC publishes on the CDI website, and may be especially helpful to local health departments in creating their own sub-state-level estimates.

CDC’s redesigned CDI website, just launched this week, provides data for each of the indicators at the state, territorial, and national level as well as for 40 large metropolitan areas. In addition to updating and adding data for all the CDIs, CDC worked hard to create a more user-friendly display, navigation, and data retrieval functionality for the website. Please take a few minutes to visit the site at www.cdc.gov/cdi, bookmark it and check it out!

If you haven’t taken a look at the CDIs since their last formal update in 2002, you’ll see many changes that reflect the growth in chronic disease programs in state and territorial health departments over the past decade and keep the CDIs relevant for present-day chronic disease surveillance. For example, the CDIs include 22 new indicators of systems and environmental change, reflecting the increased focus on environmental and systems change strategies in chronic disease program efforts. The updated CDIs also include five new topic areas – disability, mental health, older adults, reproductive health, and school health – reflecting the increased scope of work of many state and territorial chronic disease programs and increased collaboration with other program areas.

Here are just a few of the new CDIs you might find interesting:

  • Nutrition, physical activity, and weight status 8: Number of farmers markets per 100,000 residents (data source: USDA National Farmers’ Market Directory)
  • Asthma 5.1: Influenza vaccination among noninstitutionalized adults aged 18–64 years with asthma (data source: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System)
  • Older adults 3.1: Proportion of older adults aged ≥65 years who are up to date on a core set of clinical preventive services (data source: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System)
These newly revised Chronic Disease Indicators provide state and territorial health departments and other health agencies with a framework for chronic disease surveillance in the form of rigorously-defined consensus measures that are relevant to their programs. Our challenge going forward is to keep them relevant and to not let a whole decade pass before the next update! Please stay tuned for upcoming opportunities to learn more about the new CDIs and get involved in the next update process.
Sara L. Huston, Ph.D. is on the faculty of the University of Southern Maine’s Muskie School of Public Service and serves as the Lead Chronic Disease Epidemiologist for Maine. She is former chair of CSTE’s Chronic Disease/MCH/Oral Health Committee. For more information, please visit the CSTE page on CDIs and the 2013 CSTE position statement Revision to the National Chronic Disease Indicators.

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Tags:  cdi  chronic disease  chronic disease indicators 

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