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The 500 Cities Project: What’s happening in your neighborhood?

Publication date

Thursday, March 16, 2017

As part of the 500 Cities Project, the CDC, CDC Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released a first-of-its-kind interactive web application to provide city- and neighborhood-level health estimates for the 500 largest U.S. cities. The interactive data maps allow users – from policymakers and health advocates to community organizers and residents – to pinpoint health trends on a much smaller scale and implement targeted solutions. For example, in Rochester, Minnesota, urban planners are using 500 Cities data to help inform the redevelopment of the downtown area. The high rate of adult obesity in Rochester’s urban core has motivated planners to set aside more open spaces for sports and recreation.

Compared to the county-level assessment of the County Health Rankings, 500 Cities focuses on smaller geographic areas. With a closer look at information on unhealthy behaviors, health outcomes and prevention practices, 500 Cities data allows communities to paint a more complete picture of health in their regions. For example, in Wake County, North Carolina, the planning department is using the health indicator data (as well as Rankings data) on Raleigh and Cary to help shape their local outreach for Eat Smart Move More – a statewide anti-obesity initiative.

The 500 Cities Project reinforces that where you live matters to your health, and stark differences exist between communities that are side-by-side or just miles apart. 500 Cities highlights the importance of data and the role it can play in determining health improvement priorities.

For more information on the 500 Cities Project and to explore the interactive web application, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/500cities/index.htm.