New Tool Tracks Health Data For 500 Cities; 11 In Indiana

Mar 3, 2017

A new tool provides health data for 500 of the nation’s largest cities, including eleven in Indiana. The 500 Cities Project data does rank or compare states or communities but is a helpful tool for health policy planning.

The first-of-its-kind interactive map lists records of behaviors and chronic diseases – ranging from binge drinking to poor exercise to asthma. And they are listed on a state, city and community level, down to neighborhood tracts.

The project was produced by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the CDC Foundation. Dr. Judy Monroe is the foundation’s president and CEO, and she used to work for the Indiana State Department of Health.

“Back when I was health commissioner in Indiana, I would have loved this tool,” says Monroe. “To be able to look at a city and drill down to see where the highest rates of smoking or obesity, or binge drinking or people who are not getting their preventative screenings.”

Monroe says health officials, city planners, policy makers and businesses can use the information to target efforts to improve public health.

“Looking at smoking rates as an example, you’ll look at some tracks where smoking rates are as low as ten percent and then others are pushing 30 or 40 percent,” Monroe says.

The 11 Hoosier cities included in the project are Hammond, Gary, South Bend, Fort Wayne, Muncie, Indianapolis, Carmel, Fishers, Lafayette, Bloomington and Evansville.