New TFAH Web-based Tool Will Help Policymakers Better Understand Their Constituent’s Health Status


(Washington, DC – May, ) Trust for America’s Health has created a new web-based tool that will allow members of Congress, their staff and grassroots health advocates to identify the health needs of constituents and target programs and resources where they are most needed.

The new web tool, How Healthy is your Congressional District? created by TFAH with data provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is a one-year snapshot of health measures for every congressional district in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. These data were reported within the CDC’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) for 2017.

Data, reported nationally, by state and by Congressional district, as part of this website are:

  1. Percentage of adults who lack health insurance
  2. Current percentage of adults who smoke
  3. Cholesterol screening within the previous five years among adults
  4. Visits to doctor for routine checkup within the past year among adults
  5. Percentage of adults who have been diagnosed with diabetes
  6. Percentage of adults who report their general health as fair or poor
  7. Percentage of adults who report they could not see a doctor due to cost
  8. Percentage of adults who have obesity
  9. Percentage of adults who report they have no leisure-time physical activity
  10. Percentage of adults who received a flu shot or flu vaccine during the past 12 months

Ten of the eleven indicators are measures of adults aged 18 years and older; the health insurance measure (#1) is of adults 18-64.

Data should drive policymaking. Toward that goal, TFAH is providing this data reporting tool to policymakers, community leaders, health promotion advocates, and other interested parties. The webpage provides data to policymakers and others who want to know more about the health of their congressional districts.

“Making these comparative data easily available to policymakers will help identify critical action steps and policies that if made will improve the health status of many Americans,” said John Auerbach, President and CEO of Trust for America’s Health. “These data also help identify those districts that are in the greatest need of health-promoting policy interventions”.

Why Analyze by Congressional District?

The webpage is a unique source of information on these select 11 indicators reported by the congressional district. Other existing data sources are most often available at the state or county levels. This lack of data reported at the congressional district level can make it challenging for elected officials, their staff, and local residents and organizations, to gain an accurate picture of the health concerns specific to a district.

There are health-related concerns in every district. The elevated health risk in certain districts is likely a reflection of the social, economic, and environmental conditions related to their demographic composition. These data will assist all of the residents of a district – including the elected officials – to understand what needs to be done to promote optimal health and wellbeing at the local level.

In addition, the constituents of a district may find the information useful in prioritizing their community-level efforts, when seeking resources from private and public organizations, or when tracking trends over time and when conferring with local leaders about issues of concern.