In the Explore Health Topics feature, users can view and compare state values for groups of related measures. Measures are grouped by topic and may be correlated, have similar origins or causes, or provide additional context, such as displaying food insecurity, supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) reach, and demographic characteristics like median household income alongside obesity prevalence. This perspective moves the data beyond a single measure or report and can show the connectedness and breadth of population health indicators.
Combining measures from the Health of Women and Children, Senior, and Annual America’s Health Rankings reports connects health issues across the lifecourse. By selecting states of interest on the comparison plot, state values are put in context of the national value, and least and most healthy state value. This view allows stakeholders to easily prioritize areas of health for interventions or show where the state is excelling, relative to other states and the District of Columbia.
The heat map view displays values sorted into quintiles and is a compelling visual display that includes all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the nation. Users can sort by a single measure to see how other measures in the topic correlate. For added flexibility, both displays offer the option to “Hide” and “Restore” measures within each grouping.
The health topics have been selected based upon common categories of health, with layers of subtopics under each grouping with up to twelve measures included in each. For example, tobacco and substance use is broken down into smoking, alcohol, drugs, and other associated health behaviors. Smoking offers first and secondhand smoke; smoking and household characteristics; and smoking, disease and death — three sets of measures all focused on smoking but from different perspectives.
Topics focusing on demographics are also available. Demographic categories focus on gender, race/ethnicity or educational attainment which offer data within groups (such as outcomes among males), as well as between groups (such as deaths by gender) that can help uncover potential health inequities within and between states.
The health topics are updated as new data are available. For further reading, users may click on the “Information” text below each measure name. This will display the measure definition; clicking “Explore” will bring users to the main page for each measure which provides in-depth information on the measure, including information on why this measure is important, impacted populations and potential solutions, as well as additional data in the form of trend graphs, maps and other resources for states.