Chronic Diseases in Canada

Volume 31, no. 1, December 2010

What Chronic Disease Infobase Data Cubes can do for you


Public health is complex, largely due to the diversity of the population under study. Because of this, characterizing the relationships that exist between exposure(s) and disease requires comprehensive analyses of many variables. Traditional methods of data analysis using statistical software (e.g. SAS┬« and STATA┬«) are best for complex analyses. However, for routine queries, for instance, the prevalence of a chronic disease by age and geography, the Public Health Agency of Canada has developed an online tool to enhance the efficiency of this type of data analysis.

An interactive tool

Chronic Disease Infobase data cubes display chronic disease health indicator data interactively. This online data analysis tool is very flexible; you can explore many different variables and look at associations between them; you can combine, nest and change the variables instantly; and you can change the appearance of your figure quickly and easily by changing the figure type and adjusting the series' colours. The efficiency and utility of this approach for generating cross-tabulations and figures is unparalleled.

Accessing and saving data

Access to the Chronic Disease Infobase data cubes is via your web browser; no additional software or downloads are required. In addition, each user is able to save queries for future access and send queries to colleagues. You can also export figures and/or tables to several file formats (e.g. portable document format, Microsoft Excel spreadsheet).

Easy to use: a Nova Scotia example

Scenario: you are a regional surveillance analyst in Halifax, Nova Scotia. A provincial government employee asks you for the prevalence of smoking in your region, by age group, gender and occupation. You complete the analysis immediately by accessing Chronic Disease Infobase data cubes online. From the list of cubes, you choose the most appropriate one for your analysis. You then simply orient your table to include the four variables required, choose the chart type that best represents the data (e.g. pie chart vs. clustered bar chart) and export the table to the format of your choice.

A rich palette of data

Infobase data cubes contain various types of data, including mortality, morbidity and risk factor data. These can be compared across various demographic data to generate statistics such as prevalence estimates, crude and adjusted incidence rates, and trends over time. The chronic disease indicator data come from many different sources, including the Canadian Community Health Survey, the Canadian Health Measures Survey, Vital Statistics and cancer incidence data from Statistics Canada, the Canadian Chronic Diseases Surveillance System and the Canadian Census. All data contained in the Chronic Disease Infobase data cubes are pre-summarized and meet the requirements of all applicable user agreements.

To access this new online surveillance tool, enter the following Web URL into your browser, 

For more information about the tool, please contact .

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