Chronic Diseases

The conditions in which people live lead some populations to be inequitably impacted by chronic diseases.

About this data story

Chronic diseases contribute to 56% of mortality in MA. Chronic diseases include cancer, diabetes, chronic lower respiratory disease, stroke and cardiovascular disease. The most predictive risk factors for developing chronic diseases are: poor nutrition, physical inactivity, and tobacco use and exposure. While historically these risk factors were considered dependent on personal choices, we now understand that the conditions in which people live, learn, work, and play do not offer equal access or opportunity to make this possible.1,2,3,4,5, 6 As a result, some populations, including Black and Hispanic/Latinx residents, low-income residents, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) residents, experience inequitable health outcomes. 

Additional Information and Footnotes

Hispanic is used to reflect current data collection practices. We acknowledge this may not be the preferred term. Throughout this report, NH refers to Non-Hispanic. People of color refers to individuals identifying as Black, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Hispanic, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and Other. Unless otherwise noted, adults are ages 18+. Data are most recently available for the specified data source.

1 Heynen, N., Perkins, H., & Roy, P. (2006). The Political Ecology of Uneven Urban Green Space: The Impact of Political Economy on Race and Ethnicity in Producing Environmental Inequality in Milwaukee. Urban Affairs Review, 42.1, 3-25. DOI: 10.1177/1078087406290729

2 Blanck, H., Allen, D., Bashir, Z., Gordon, N., Goodman, A., Merriam, D., & Rutt, C. (2012). Let’s Go to the Park Today: The Role of Parks in Obesity Prevention and Improving the Public’s Health. Childhood Obesity, 8(5). DOI: 10.1089/chi.2012.0085.blan

3 Dai, D. (2011). Racial/Ethnic and Socioeconomic Disparities in Urban Green Space Accessibility: Where to Intervene? Landscape and Urban Planning, 102(4), 234-244. DOI: 10.1016/j.landurbplan.2011.05.002.

4 Treuhaft, S. & Karpyn, A. (1st edition). (2015). The Grocery Gap Who Has Access to Healthy Food and Why It Matters. Retrieved from

5 Morland, L. & Filomena, S. (2007). Disparities in the Availability of Fruits and Vegetables Between Racially Segregated Urban Neighbourhoods. Public Health Nutrition, 10(12), 1481-1489. Retrieved from

6 Nobrega, S., Champagne, N., Abreu, M., Goldstein-Gelb, M., Montano, M., Lopez, I., Arevalo, J., Bruce, S., Punnett, L. (2016) Obesity/Overweight and the Role of Working Conditions: A Qualitative, Participatory Investigation. Health Promotion Practice, 17(1), 127-136. DOI: 10.1177/1524839915602439

Additional Resources

Contact   for Chronic Diseases


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