COPD Foundation Congratulates CDC for Collecting and Analyzing COPD Health Data

August 15, 2012

Data expected to highlight COPD as a growing health crisis

The COPD Foundation (COPDF) announced that data gathered by the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), the largest national health survey, about chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) has been collected and is being analyzed.

“We are excited about the data because it will finally showcase the severe impact of COPD and prove that it is a growing public health crisis that must be addressed at the state and federal levels with proven prevention, awareness, education and management strategies,” says John W. Walsh, president and co-founder of the COPD Foundation. “This data reinforces the need for continued and increased investments in COPD research.”

Sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI), BRFSS included COPD in its 2011 survey for the first time to determine its prevalence, collecting data monthly in all 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam. Over 498,000 adults were surveyed. By increasing the measurable data about COPD prevalence in all 50 states, the COPD Foundation can highlight problem areas and discuss the disease in terms of risk populations, number of individuals with COPD, and state-specific data.

COPDF congratulates the state health departments for collecting the data, the CDC for creating a national public use dataset, and the NHLBI for sponsoring states in implementing a special module of additional COPD questions. The COPDF is eager to share results and conduct its own analysis. The raw data files are now available on the CDC’s BRFSS website.  

COPD Foundation board member Dr. David Mannino, Professor of Medicine at the University of Kentucky says, “We feel this data will showcase the impact of COPD on women and increased rates in non-smokers, based on reports from previous surveys and the reports from our volunteer medical leadership. The data collected will be layered on top of other data to enhance our understanding of COPD and its co-morbidities in order to help us to design targeted responses.”

The COPD Foundation will be working with leaders in the epidemiology and statistic field and its advisory committees over the coming weeks and months to do further analysis that will shed light on risk factors, health disparities and associated conditions.  In addition, the COPD Foundation is working with its partners nationwide to issue a call to action to the community, urging a coordinated advocacy campaign to ensure the rich data is heard by policymakers and used to create the tipping point for COPD in the US.

Within months, the CDC and NHLBI will publish an important MMWR (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report) showcasing the rates of COPD in each state.  This state specific data will be expanded upon when CDC publishes state fact sheets detailing how COPD’s impact varies across different demographic groups.  At least 21 states, DC, and Puerto Rico  have collected data on an optional module of 5 questions, first used by the North Carolina COPD Taskforce.  When published, this additional data will showcase how COPD impacts healthcare utilization and individual’s quality of life among other things.