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App lets Americans from country’s 500 largest cities access health level data

Americans living in 500 of the country’s largest cities are able to access health level data from their neighborhood via an app. “500 Cities” represents a first-of-its-kind effort to make citizens fully understand the health issues affecting the residents of particular cities.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention partnered up with The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for the project “500 Cities”. The aim is to offer high-quality, small-area epidemiologic data that can later be used by citizens and authorities alike to develop and implement effective and targeted prevention activities.

The app includes data for the 497 largest American cities and cities in Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming, to ensure inclusion of cities from all the states; bringing the total to 500 cities. The project includes a total population of 103,020,808, which represents 33.4% of the total United States population of 308,745,538.


Estimates are available for 27 measures of chronic diseases related to unhealthy behaviors, health outcomes, and use of preventive services. Users can find the prevalence of arthritis, diabetes or heart diseases but they can also view measurements over binge drinking, current smoking, obesity, physical exercise or sleep.

When it comes to preventive services, information is available regarding health insurance levels, annual checkups, dental visits or cholesterol screenings.

While citizens are able to view the health levels associated with their living areas, the analysis, the CDC says, will prove to be an invaluable tool for health officials and policymakers as they plan and implement activities to improve the health and wellbeing of their residents.

Users are also provided with a tool to compare up to three cities, on all measures.

Sylvia Jacob