Online Program

Regional Risk: Mapping Single and Multiple Chronic Conditions in the United States

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Alexandra Nowakowski, PhD, MPH, Geriatrics / Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine, Florida State University College of Medicine, Orlando, FL
Jihyung Shin, PhD, ICT Statistics Center, Korea Information Society Development Institute, Chungcheongbuk-do, Korea, Republic of (South)
Henry Carretta, PhD MPH, Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine, Florida State University College of Medicine, Tallhassee, FL
Prevalence of single and multiple chronic conditions continues to increase in the United States. Chronic conditions predict significant morbidity and health care costs, especially when complicated by additional conditions. Likewise, many conditions are linked to health risk behaviors, and thus amenable to prevention.

We examine regional differences in prevalence of single and multiple chronic conditions. In the process, we examine the ability of health risk behaviors to predict condition prevalence in each region. We recommend national prevention strategies with targeted content for specific geographic regions.

We used 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) data (N = 432,607) for all analyses. After grouping states into nine US Census divisions, we fitted generalized linear mixed regression models, and compared regional odds ratios with national averages. Analyses controlled for helpful and harmful behaviors, health insurance coverage, and demographic characteristics.

Odds ratios for single and multiple chronic conditions deviated significantly from national averages in all nine regions. Health behaviors significantly predicted prevalence for both single and multiple conditions within regions, but differences in behaviors between regions did not fully account for observed disparities in prevalence.

Significant regional differences in disease prevalence suggest priority areas for prevention efforts. Promoting healthy behaviors and mitigating harmful behaviors in high-risk regions may help to reduce overall chronic condition prevalence, but is unlikely to obviate disparities between regions. Targeted needs assessment should be conducted within each region with higher-than-average risk to determine intervention strategies with the greatest likelihood of near-term impact.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe results from research using 2009 BRFSS data. Explain health policy implications of identified regional disparities in risk. Discuss options for extending regional health disparities research using newer BRFSS data.

Keyword(s): Chronic Disease Prevention, Health Disparities/Inequities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I wrote this entire manuscript and helped with follow-up data analysis during the revision process. My background is in the experience, management, and epidemiology of chronic conditions using biopsychosocial frameworks, so this paper fits well with my program of research as a whole.
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.