HA535 Unit 2 Discussion


In your opinion, what is the best method to obtain data on a health-related topic? Would you call your local health department, contact your physician, or email the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? Perhaps you would do none of these. Where would you go to obtain data? You will discuss how you can retrieve data on a health-related topic of your choice!

Please respond in first person, share personal experiences

Use as references:


National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) – National and state data sets as well as statistic reports. Information about ordering data sets that cannot be downloaded.
CDC Data and Statistics page – much more than NCHS
CDC WONDER – WONDER provides a single point of access to a wide variety of reports and numeric public health data.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality – Data and Surveys
Statewide Planning and Research Cooperative System (SPARCS) – Data dictionaries, documentation and request forms. No searchable data online.
U.S. Census Bureau, Current census data including information broken down by state, city, and region.
WHOSIS — WHO Statistical Information System

In two diferent paragraph give your personal opinion to Dianna Adair and Renee Johnson 

Dianna Adair 

I am quite particular about the ways I obtain data on health-related topics. Sometimes I will start by reviewing anecdotal data to get an idea of how the people feel about a certain issue. This isn’t really factored into the final product necessarily, but it gives me a basic idea for what problems I should look for and what solutions I should be weary of.

The next step is to find some general data on the topic, such as how many are affected by a condition or what foundations exist for research and developing treatments for said condition. Many times, this begins with referencing the CDC. As an example, if I wanted more information about heart disease, I could start with the FastStats page on heart disease (CDC, 2017). It discusses morbidity, mortality, office visit statistics, and ER visit statistics. This then leads to more specific research on the topic, looking for scholarly research articles regarding specific treatment types or evaluation methods.

When I look for a scholarly source, I review the source for several things before I read the article. First, I determine if it is posted in a reputable journal or on a reputable website. Then, I check if it is peer-reviewed. I then review who funded the study and research the company providing funding for legitimacy. As an example, take this study: https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/148/10/1556/5094775. This was posted in the Oxford Journal of Nutrition in 2018 and alleges that corn oil lowers plasma cholesterol compared with coconut oil in adults with high cholesterol (Maki, Hasse, Dicklin, Bell, Buggia, Cassens, & Eren, 2018). I think scrolled to see who funded this study. Five out of seven researchers received research funding from ACH Food Companies, Inc. The other two researchers are employees of ACH Food Companies, Inc. This raised some red flags for me. I did a Google search for ACH Food Companies, and they are a manufacturer of corn products, particularly corn oil. I did not bother reviewing the research as this means it is tainted with bias and other research that was unbiased told a different story.

Once I have found a reputable source, I check to see if there are other similar results from other sources and use the collective data pool to complete my data collection for whatever I am doing with the data. I hope this illustrates the importance of evaluating research to ensure that it is unbiased and accurate. It is easy to take something from a reputable journal as fact, but sometimes the information within the article are not fact at all. Always be objective and evaluate your sources!


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Heart disease. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/heart-disease.htm
Maki, K. C., Hasse, W., Dicklin, M. R., Bell, M., Buggia, M. A., Cassens, M. E., and Eren, F. (2018). Corn oil lowers plasma cholesterol compared with coconut oil in adults with above-desirable levels of cholesterol in a randomized crossover trial. The Journal of Nutrition, 148(10), 1556-1563. doi: https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxy156

Renee Johnson 

I email the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to obtain data on a health-related topic. The health-related topic I have chosen is Coronavirus of 2019, otherwise known as Covid-19 or Corona, Covid, or 2019-nCov acute respiratory disease. In my experience during Covid-19, the Infectious Disease physicians that I work with on a daily basis, have gained knowledge on how to address this horrible virus by playing it by ear and getting instruction from the CDC daily. Therefore, I will take my questions to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information regarding this virus that has caused a pandemic throughout the world. By cutting the “middle-man” out, I will save time and resources. There is a tool that CDC promotes that rapidly accesses public health records. It is called CDC Wonder and stands for Wide-ranging Online Data for Epidemiologic Research (CDC,2019). It provides you with data access and release, and communication to the CDC to access a variety of public health reports.


  1. Retrieved from: https://wonder.cdc.gov/wonder/help/main.html#What%20is%20WONDER


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