Online Program

An assessment of chronic disease through mortality in Houston, Texas

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

William Bryant Jr., MA, MPH, Department of Health and Human Services, City of Houston, Houston, TX
Monica Childers, PG, BS, Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Research for Effectiveness, Houston Health Department, Houston, TX
Deborah Banerjee, PhD, Houston Health Department, Houston Health Department, Houston, TX

It is well noted that chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, are amongst the leading causes of death in the United States.   With the limited availability of the incidence of chronic conditions like those previous mentioned, mortality data is a valued information source in planning chronic disease initiatives at the local level.    Mortality data allows one to locally describe who is being impacted and is critical in the development of environmental interventions and policies around access to healthy foods, places for physical activity and disease management programs.  Using mortality data over a ten year period (2001-2011), this aim of this study is to geo-spatially describe the impact of chronic diseases as the underlying cause of death amongst Houstonians.


Mortality data from the Texas Department of State Health Services will be the primary data source used in this analysis.  Population data will be ascertained from the U.S. Census and the American Community Survey.  Mortality rates will be mapped at the neighborhood level and the Years of Potential Life Lost (YPLL) as a result of chronic disease will be calculated.  Additionally, the mortality data will be compared with prevalence data obtained through local surveys for possible correlation.


Most of the findings for the leading causes of death in Houston follow a similar pattern to that at the national level.  In comparing the 2011 leading causes of death, by age group in Houston, the data depicts that heart disease and cancer are the only conditions that consistently lie in the top ten leading causes of death amongst all age groups.  Diabetes and stroke initially appear in the leading ten causes of death in the 15 to 24 years age group and remain in the top ten for the remaining age groups.   This could be indicative of local individuals developing the conditions much earlier in life.


When living in a culturally diverse and dynamic population as Houston, it is imperative to continuously review the data to observe the potential movement of the population.  As public health employs initiatives to combat the detrimental effects of chronic disease, ensuring efforts are accessible and meets the needs of the population is critical.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
Assess the impact of chronic disease at the local level using mortality data. Analyze mortality data in conjunction with population data to determine YPLL and possible disparities.

Keyword(s): Epidemiology, Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have served as a biostatistician within my agency for well over five years. During my tenure, I have authored and coauthored numerous abstracts on epidemiological data and findings. My scientific interests has been in the area of public health informatics, data systems integration, and GIS.
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.