Online Program

America's health rankings: Identifying and selecting a leading health indicator

Monday, November 4, 2013

Samantha Aaron, BA in Medicine, Health and Society, Public Health Leadership, UNC Gillings School of Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC
Anna Schenck, PhD, MSPH, Public Health Leadership Program and North Carolina Institute for Public Health, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC
Background: America's Health Rankings (AHR) has been used as a tool to improve population health status for 20 years. AHR's annual publication ranks each state on overall health and selected indicators, providing individuals, elected officials, public health professionals, medical professionals, and educators with resources that can be used to stimulate change. Methods: America's Health Rankings has established a Scientific Advisory Committee consisting of academics and practitioners that evaluate measures used for specific health indicators. A literature review is conducted; data on potential indicators is collected and evaluated. The committee evaluates current measures, other possibilities and selects the appropriate health indicator. Recent indicator reviews include leading health indicators such as obesity. Results: 35 potential indicators that addressed obesity/healthy weight, physical activity, and nutrition were identified and 15 measures were presented to the Scientific Advisory Committee for review. Review criteria included the data source, frequency of data collection, availability of state level data, and the implication of the measure on overall health.The correlation between healthy weight and obesity was evaluated and the committee discussed framing this indicator in a different manner. The obesity measure currently used ignores the overweight population, which is also a health concern. Discussion / Conclusions: America's Health Rankings' publication as a tool of measurement is becoming a consistent tool to assist in the transition of the population's health from subpar to satisfactory. Shedding light on leading health indicators like obesity may hopefully assist the country in taking accountability for its current health status.

Learning Areas:

Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Chronic disease management and prevention
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate the importance of selecting appropriate health indicators for obesity, nutrition, and physical health Explain the process of selecting health indicators for inclusion in the AHR publication that can be used to improve community health.

Keyword(s): Obesity, Public Health Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I assist in researching measures for America’s Health Rankings. I act act as the Scientific Advisory Committee's research assistant
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.