Health Data

This Design for Health (DFH) section provides tools on how to access information about health within your community as well on how to measure the effects that the built environment has on certain health issues.

DFH Materials

  • Health Impact Assessments (HIA)
    This series offers a variety of HIA tools to identify and evaluate the effects of policies, plans, programs, and design on health. These can be specifically tailored to consider the needs of special populations.
  • Key Questions Research Summaries
    This series provides short and digestible summaries about what research says and doesn’t say on topics relevant to the comprehensive planning process
  • Comprehensive Plan Review Checklists
    These checklists summarize the key points of the DFH background and health impact assessment materials. Topics match the plan elements required by the Twin Cities Metropolitan Council.
  • Transportation, Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan Checklist
    This checklist for transportation, pedestrian and bicycle plans can be used to evaluate how well health has been incorporated and helps to identify additional opportunities to incorporate health into these plans.

Information Sources for Health

The following Web sites are some of the resources available for finding health statistics and facilities information.

Health Statistics

  • WHO
    The World Health Organization web site contains much data, often at the country level. Whie this is too coars for understanding urban areas it is still useful for comparison and for examining large trends.
  • Gapminder
    With a focus on international development, health, and globalization, Gapminder shows what it is possible for Swedish statisticians to do with flash animations and time on their hands on long cold nights. You can see founder, Hans Rosling, in action on video and then try it yourself online or with downloadable animations. His most famous video is at now a few years old but gives a good sense of how to use the tool.While data are provided by country, one of the data sets is the percent urban population making it possible to see the relationships between urbanization and many health and environmental indicators. Several tools allow comparison of regions and states within countries for example, comparing countries with Chinese provinces and U.S. states:
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
    The CDC has a wealth of information including some statistics:

    • The National Center for Health Statistics
      This site has a wealth of health data. The most readily accessible statistics are at the state level.
    • Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System(BRFSS)
      This is a national survey of a variety of health-related behaviors with data available down to the county level in many metropolitan areas. The SMART(Selected Metropolitan/Micropolitan Area Risk Trends) project is particularly useful and provides access to BRFSS (Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System) responses for the Minneapolis-St. Paul Metropolitan Statistical Area, as well as for Hennepin and Ramsey counties separately. Data are available for 2002-05.

      • GIS Shape Files:
        BRFSS maps of downloadable GIS data provided for metropolitan areas and states.
  • Minnesota Department of Health
    The department has a wide range of statistics including:

    • Vital Statistics Trends
      This site includes an instruction document and a highly formatted excel workbook of basic demographic data, birth data (including premature births, prenatal case, infant deaths), and death data (major causes, age-adjusted rates, ethnic breakdown).
    • Minnesota County Health Tables
      These tables contain data on demographics; births and related infant health issues; deaths and causes of death; diseases, medical professionals, and health-related behaviors (under morbidity and utilization as well as under chemical health); and environmental health (e.g., lead poisoning). Diseases range from mumps to Lyme disease and lung cancer; behaviors include seat-belt use and driving under the influence.

Health Facilities

  • Medicare
    Medicare provides a searchable database of nursing homes. It is searchable in several ways. Search features include zip code, city, and various radii around a city (up to 500 miles). For example, if one searches for nursing homes within 10 miles of Bloomington, Minnesota, the database delivers 43 facilities.

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