Planning Tools














Community Data - Overview

Return to contents

In this step of gathering information you will collect facts and figures from the US Census Bureau and from local, state, and national health agencies. This data will tell a story about the health status of your community. Use the worksheets and summary sheets in this section to pull together and analyze data on your community.

The Population Profile Worksheets can help you sort through all the data available from the US Census Bureau about your community. Population data can tell you if your community is at a higher risk of poor health because of its economic status, racial composition, education level, or some other demographic factor. Population data is important to identifying health needs and in planning community-based nutrition and physical activity programs and services.

The Population Profile Summary Sheet includes some questions to help you analyze your population data, and it encourages you to record on one page the population data highlights.

With the Health Profile Worksheets you will consider data on the community's diseases, deaths, and health disparities. Most of this data will be available through the local or state health agency.

The Health Profile Summary Sheet includes some questions to help you analyze your health status data, and it encourages you to record on one page the health data highlights.

The Nutrition & Physical Activity Profile Worksheets are organized into life-stage categories. And within those categories you are encouraged to gather data on nutrition-related and physical activity-related diseases, health behaviors, and other health measures. There are six categories in the Nutrition & Physical Activity Profile Worksheets:

  • Preconceptional Women and Adolescents,
  • Pregnant Women and Adolescents,
  • Infants and Preschool Children,
  • School-age Children,Adolescents, and
  • Adults and Older Adults.

The Nutrition & Physical Activity Profile Summary Sheet includes some questions to help you analyze your nutrition and physical activity data, and it encourages you to record on one page the nutrition and physical activity data highlights.

The Race and Ethnicity Overview discusses why race and ethnicity data are relevant to people planning nutrition and physical activity programs. It also helps you understand the race and ethnicity numbers from the census data, and it includes suggested actions if your community includes racial and ethnic minority groups.

The Data Resources piece lists government agencies involved with food and health data, describes the surveys you will use in the Nutrition & Physical Activity Profile Worksheets, and lists some of the interactive databases that can generate state and local data for you.

The No Data Tip Sheet includes suggestions on what to do if you don't have local-level community data.

The Community Data Summary Sheet is provided for you to list, in one place, all the health concerns you identified considering only community data. You should not be prioritizing concerns at this point.

Copyright 2006 Association of State and Territorial Public Health Nutrition Directors

Moving to the FutureTerminology

Coalitions. People work together in a number of ways, in coalitions, partnerships, committees, teams, task forces, and so on. The tools in Moving to the Future will help you no matter how your group is structured. To make Moving to the Future friendly to people working together in different ways, we use these group terms interchangeably. So, if you are working in a formal committee and Moving to the Future uses the word team, the information applies to you as well.

Program. In Moving to the Future, the word program is defined broadly and could encompass any group of activities including projects, services, programs, and policy or environmental changes.

Nutrition and Physical Activity. In Moving to the Future, we often pair the word nutrition with the phrase physical activity, as for example in "address the nutrition and physical activity needs" or "develop a nutrition and physical activity plan." This does not suggest that these materials are only useful to people working on community-based nutrition AND physical activity programs. You can use the Moving to the Future resources to develop a plan focused only on nutrition or a plan focused only on physical activity. Moving to the Future provides guidance on a process--not on content. In fact, these materials could be adapted and used to develop a teen pregnancy prevention plan, for example, or a plan for any other community health priority.

Moving to the Future principles Flexible and Realistic are the bywords of this approach. The intent of Moving to the Future is to provide guidance. Use what is helpful and modify materials to meet your needs. Planning and implementing community-based programs is not work that can be done perfectly. Do the best you can, given your real-world limitations, and commit to making improvements every year.

Copyright 2006 Association of State and Territorial Public Health Nutrition Directors.