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Health Conditions

Variable Definitions:

Adult Obesity: The percentage of adults who report having a body mass index ≥30.0 kg/m² calculated from self-reported weight and height
Asthma: The percentage of adults who report being currently diagnosed with asthma by a medical professional
Cancer: The percentage of adults who report ever being diagnosed with any type of cancer (besides skin) by a medical professional
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: The percentage of adults who report being diagnosed with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), emphysema, or chronic bronchitis by a medical professional
Coronary Heart Disease: The percentage of adults who report being diagnosed with angina or coronary heart disease by a medical professional

Diabetes: The percentage of adults who report being diagnosed with diabetes by a medical professional


For more information on the CDC’s PLACES initiative and their methodology, visit the CDC PLACES homepage.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Division of Population Health PLACES Initiative

Years Available:

2018, 2019, 2020

Why are these variables important to measure?


Asthma is a chronic disease in the lungs that makes it difficult to breathe. It has no cure and occurs in people of all ages, likely from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. Although symptoms are often mild and go away with minor treatment, severe asthma attacks often require emergency care and can be fatal.

On a neighborhood level, high rates of asthma-related Emergency Room visits may be an indication of poor air quality and/or delivery of health services. In these areas, educational campaigns regarding likely causes of asthma and strategies for management of symptoms could be useful in reducing the prevalence of serious asthma attacks.

Coronary Heart Disease

Cardiovascular disease refers to a number of conditions that involved blocked and narrowed blood vessels potentially causing heart problems. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, most often through heart attacks. Many individual habits influence the development of cardiovascular disease including poor diet, lack of exercise, and smoking. 

On a neighborhood level, high rates of cardiovascular-related Emergency Room visits may be a sign of general health challenges perhaps impacted by environmental risks like poor air quality, limited access to healthcare services, or the need for public education on risk factors contributing to cardiovascular disease.


“Asthma.” National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 2018. Link

Faust, John et al. “Update to the California Communities Environmental Health Screening Tool: CalEnviroScreen 3.0.” California Environmental Protection Agency & Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, January 2017. Link

Fisher, Edwin B. et al. “Community Organization to Reduce the Need for Acute Care for Asthma Among African American Children in Low-Income Neighborhoods: The Neighborhood Asthma Coalition.” American Academy of Pediatrics, vol. 114, no. 1, 2014, pp. 116-123. Link

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