Chronic diseases—such as diabetes, cancer, asthma and heart disease—are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. The Center’s Chronic Disease Program is a premier source of data and research on chronic diseases such as asthma and diabetes as well as a range of related health promotion issues, including the social and environmental factors that contribute to obesity, lack of physical activity and poor diet.
Program staff conduct research on factors that both promote healthy living (more physical activity and better diet) and prevent the development or exacerbation of chronic diseases. Staff also focus on appropriateness and quality of care for chronic conditions. The Program has published innovative research on topics ranging from the link between high numbers of neighborhood fast food restaurants and obesity to the high rates of asthma in neighborhoods adjacent to major highways.
Our researchers utilize state-of-the-art methodology for studies on chronic disease and health promotion, including hierarchical models, small area estimation, as well as Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to link health and environment data. Program staff also conduct cross-cutting research on chronic disease costs and disparities in conjunction with other Center Programs, including the Health Economics & Evaluation Research Program and the Health Disparities Program.
Program experts have been asked to give testimony before California’s legislature, consumer and civic groups and elsewhere on the effects of obesity, diabetes, asthma and other chronic conditions and to recommend policy options to combat those effects.
Our researchers and staff regularly provide data and analyses in support of improved public health policies to funders and community health and advocacy groups.
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