The County of San Diego has been collecting “big data” on health-related issues for years. Through a combination of research from marketing companies, mobile health apps, and original demographic data, the County has information on everything from where in San Diego people eat the most vegetables, who watches “smart” TV versus old-fashioned cable, and where diabetes and Alzheimer’s are most prevalent.
Officials have already used these data to make positive changes, through implementation of the Live Well San Diego vision for healthy, safe and thriving communities at Regional Leadership Teams and on the ground in local businesses, organizations, districts and neighborhoods. For example, the Chula Vista Elementary School District saw it had some of the highest childhood obesity rates in San Diego County and started a program of increased physical activity and healthier meals for kids in every grade. The initiative worked: the number of overweight students has decreased five percent since 2010 .
The “Big Data and a Culture of Health” project, led by Dr. Steven Woolf of Virginia Commonwealth University in collaboration with Kevin Patrick, Director of the Center for Wireless Health at the University of California, San Diego, and the County of San Diego is designed to go beyond straight-forward correlations.