Category: Health and Health Care

10 - The CDC Healthy Data Portal—Chronic Disease Data for Older Adults

Background: Public health surveillance data are important as they can inform policymakers and health professionals, including researchers, on the current prevalence of conditions, behaviors, and risk factors in a population. Knowledge of these conditions and risk factors help inform public health practice and research objectives. The Healthy Aging Data Portal (“the Data Portal”), a free, publicly available online resource hosted and supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides access to a range of national, regional, and state data on the health of older adults that can be used to generated statistics without additional statistical analyses.

Objectives: The goal of this presentation is to describe the utility of the Data Portal.

Methods: Data in the Portal are from state-level survey data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a telephone health survey administered to a stratified sample of adults 18 years of age and older. Health indicators important for the health of adults 50 years and older were selected for inclusion to maximize the Data Portal’s utility. The Data Portal includes data from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.  Not all states and territories administer each module each survey year so not all indicators have data from all locations for all years.

Results: Using weighted BRFSS data, across all participating locations, data on indicators on older adult health including nutrition and physical activities, screenings and vaccinations, tobacco and alcohol use, mental and cognitive health, and caregiving activities. Data are available for individual states, by region (Northeast, Midwest, South, and West) and at a national level. Data can be stratified by age group for each indicator.

Conclusions: Older adult health is increasingly important as Americans are living longer and the number of older adults is growing. Access to data on older adult health is important for policymakers and researchers who can quickly and easily find the prevalence of certain health conditions. The Data Portal makes important statistical data on older adults more accessible because no complex statistical analyses are needed for risk factor- or state-level results.


Christopher Taylor


Dr. Christopher Taylor works as an epidemiologist in the CDC Alzheimer’s Disease and Healthy Aging Program. He has been with CDC for more than 7 years and has extensively studied many aspects of older adult health, including Alzheimer’s disease, caregiver research, and traumatic brain injury. Prior to joining CDC, he was a researcher on several large studies of older adult health including the LIFE Study, the LONG LIFE Study, and Health, Aging, and Body Composition (Health ABC) study.

Lisa C. McGuire

Lead, Alzheimer's Disease + Healthy Aging Program
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Chamblee, Georgia

Dr. Lisa McGuire is the Lead of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Alzheimer’s Disease and Healthy Aging Program, which houses the congressionally-appropriated Healthy Brain Initiative. Dr. McGuire earned a PhD in Lifespan Developmental Psychology from Bowling Green State University and completed a National Institute of Mental Health Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Gerontology Center at The Pennsylvania State University, where she worked on the Seattle Longitudinal Study. She joined CDC in 2004 and has published over 75 articles and book chapters on aspects of chronic health conditions, obesity, cognition and brain injury, disability, caregiving, and aging. Dr. McGuire is a member of the National Alzheimer’s Project Act Federal Advisory Council, Board of Directors for the National Alliance for Caregiving, the Editorial Board of The Gerontologist, and Fellows of Division 20 of the American Psychological Association and the Gerontological Society of America.