Health Factors & Behaviors

Health risk factors are attributes, characteristics or exposures that increase the likelihood of a person for developing a disease or health disorder. Included here are four types of health factors: health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic, and physical environment factors.

Health behaviors include actions, practices, or habits that have an impact on health. Health risk behaviors including lack of physical activity, poor nutrition, tobacco use, and excessive alcohol consumption—are considered contributors in some way to illness and death from chronic disease. Seven out of 10 deaths among Americans each year are from chronic diseases. Heart disease, cancer, and stroke account for more than 50% of all deaths each year.

A new CDC report finds that people can live longer if they practice one or more healthy lifestyle behaviors— not smoking, eating a healthy diet, getting regular physical activity, and limiting alcohol consumption. Not smoking provides the most protection from dying early from all causes. People who engaged in all four healthy behaviors were 66 percent less likely to die early from cancer, 65 percent less likely to die early from cardiovascular disease, and 57 percent less likely to die early from other causes, compared to people who did not engage in any of the healthy behaviors.

To explore health factors data, click here.


Tracking Health Factors in Louisiana

The Health Data Explorer contains information on the following measures:

Access to grocery stores and/or produce, farmer’s markets

% with access to healthy foods -the percentage of the population who are low income and do not live close to a grocery store. Living close to a grocery store is defined differently in rural and non-rural areas; in rural areas, it means living less than 10 miles from a grocery store; in non-rural areas, less than 1 mile. Low income is defined as having an annual family income of less than or equal to 200 percent of the federal poverty threshold for the family size.


Clinical Care

Access to Health Care

Uninsured percentage of the population younger than age 65 without health insurance.

Quality of Care

Diabetic monitoring - the percentage of diabetic fee-for-service Medicare patients ages 65-75 whose blood sugar control was monitored in the past year using a test of their glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) levels.

Mammography Screening - the percentage of female fee-for-service Medicare enrollees age 67-69 that had at least one mammogram over a two-year period.


Diet and Exercise

Alcohol Use

% reporting excessive drinking - the percentage of adults that report either binge drinking, defined as consuming more than 4 (women) or 5 (men) alcoholic beverages on a single occasion in the past 30 days, or heavy drinking, defined as drinking more than one (women) or 2 (men) drinks per day on average.

Physical Inactivity

Physical Inactivity is the age-adjusted percentage of adults 20 years and over reporting no leisure-time physical activity. Examples of physical activities provided include running, calisthenics, golf, gardening, or walking for exercise.

Tobacco Use

Adult Smoking is the percentage of the adult population that currently smokes every day or most days and has smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime.


Health Behaviors

Access to Health Care

Could not see a Doctor due to cost

Sexual Activity

Sexually Transmitted Infections

STIs-Chlamydia Rate

Teen Births

Tobacco Use

Adult Smoking


Health Outcomes

HIV Prevalence


Homicides are the number of deaths from assaults, defined as ICD-10 codes X85-Y09, per 100,000 population.


Social and Economic Factors

Community Safety

Injury Deaths - the number of deaths from intentional and unintentional injuries per 100,000 population. Deaths included are those with an underlying cause of injury.


High School Graduation - the percentage of the ninth-grade cohort in public schools that graduates from high school in four years.


Unemployment - the percentage of the civilian labor force, age 16 and older, that is unemployed but seeking work.

 Food Insecurity

Food Insecurity is the percentage of the population who did not have access to a reliable source of food during the past year. This measure was modeled using information from the Community Population Survey, Bureau of Labor Statistics, and American Community Survey.


Severe Housing Problems - the percentage of households with at least 1 or more of the following housing problems:

1) housing unit lacks complete kitchen facilities;

2) housing unit lacks complete plumbing facilities;

3) household is severely overcrowded; and

4) household is severely cost burdened.


Children in Poverty - the percentage of children under age 18 living in poverty. Poverty status is defined by family; either everyone in the family is in poverty or no one in the family is in poverty. The characteristics of the family used to determine the poverty threshold are: number of people, number of related children under 18, and whether or not the primary householder is over age 65. Family income is then compared to the poverty threshold; if that family's income is below that threshold, the family is in poverty. 


Data Sources

Robert Woods Johnson Foundation County Health Rankings & Roadmaps

LDH Bureau of Health Informatics


Additional Info

For more information, please visit the Health Data Explorer or email us at