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Health Indicator Report of Multiple Chronic Conditions

In New Mexico, 26 percent of adults ages 45 years and older have been diagnosed with two or more chronic diseases. Within this broad age range, the rate is 21 percent for adults ages 45-64 and is over 34 percent for those ages 65 years and older. Chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, emphysema, stroke, and diabetes account for five of the leading six causes of death in New Mexico. Another common chronic disease, arthritis, is a leading cause of disability among adults. Many chronic diseases share potentially modifiable risk factors such as physical inactivity, tobacco use, unhealthy eating, and excess weight, which tend to cluster in communities and individuals. These shared chronic disease risk factors, in turn, are strongly related to potentially modifiable social determinants such as poverty, unsafe neighborhoods, discrimination, and low educational attainment. This means that many New Mexicans living with the challenge of multiple chronic conditions may not have the health literacy skills, income, community resources, or access to healthcare services that they need to successfully take care of themselves.

Prevalence of Multiple Chronic Conditions among Adults Ages 45 Years and Older by Urban and Rural Counties, New Mexico, 2017

Data Source

Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Survey Data, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, together with New Mexico Department of Health, Injury and Behavioral Epidemiology Bureau.

Data Interpretation Issues

Data for this indicator report are from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), an ongoing survey of adults regarding their health-related behaviors, health conditions, and preventive services. Data are collected in all 50 states, D.C., and U.S. territories. Responses have been weighted to reflect the New Mexico adult population by age, sex, ethnicity, geographic region, marital status, education level, home ownership and type of phone ownership. The survey is conducted using scientific telephone survey methods for landline and cellular phones (with cellular since 2011). The landline phone portion of the survey excludes adults living in group quarters such as college dormitories, nursing homes, military barracks, and prisons. The cellular phone portion of the survey includes adult students living in college dormitories but excludes other group quarters. Beginning with 2011, the BRFSS updated its surveillance methods by adding in calls to cell phones and changing its weighting methods. These changes improve BRFSS' ability to take into account the increasing proportion of U.S. adults using only cellular telephones as well as to adjust survey data to improve the representativeness of the estimates generated from the survey. Results have been adjusted for the probability of selection of the respondent, and have been weighted to the adult population by age, gender, phone type, detailed race/ethnicity, renter/owner, education, marital status, and geographic area. Lastly and importantly, these changes mean that the data from years prior to 2011 are not directly comparable to data from 2011 and beyond. Please see the [ BRFSS Method Change Factsheet]. The "missing" and "don't know" responses are removed before calculating a percentage.


Estimated percentage of New Mexican adults ages 45 years and older who have been diagnosed with two or more of the following chronic conditions: cardiovascular disease (heart attack, angina or coronary heart disease, and/or stroke), asthma (current), cancer (excluding skin cancer), COPD (emphysema and/or chronic bronchitis), arthritis, kidney disease, or diabetes


Number of adults ages 45 years and older from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System who have ever been told they have two or more chronic conditions by a doctor, nurse or other health professional


Number of adults ages 45 years and older from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

Healthy People Objective: ECBP-10.7, Increase the number of community-based organizations (including local health departments, tribal health services, nongovernmental organizations, and State agencies) providing population-based primary prevention services: Chronic disease programs

U.S. Target: 90.8 percent

How Are We Doing?

From 2011 and 2017, the estimated percentage of New Mexican adults ages 45 years and older who reported having multiple chronic conditions varied a little each year, ranging from a low of 25.5 in 2013 to a high of 30.5 in 2016. Rates increased with age. In New Mexico in 2017, multiple chronic conditions were reported by 1 in 3 senior adults ages 65 and older compared to 1 in 5 middle-aged adults ages 45-64. Although increasing age is the strongest risk factor, multiple chronic conditions tend to be more common in communities and individuals with more risk factors and adverse social determinants of health. The data presented here, for example, show that adults who didn't graduate from college were more likely to report multiple chronic conditions than adults in the same age group who were college graduates.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

Currently, there are no comparable data available for the United States for the entire 2011-2017 time period. However, analysis of 2017 BRFSS data for the United States estimated the prevalence of multiple chronic conditions for ages 45-64 years as 20.8 percent compared to 40.2 percent for ages 65 years and older. The prevalence of multiple chronic conditions was very similar between New Mexico and the United States for ages 45-64 years, but was lower in New Mexico compared to the United States for ages 65 years and older.

What Is Being Done?

The New Mexico Chronic Disease Prevention Council, a statewide coalition, is working with diverse partners to implement the New Mexico Shared Strategic Plan for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control, which was recently updated for 2017-2021. Additionally, community and health care system partners throughout New Mexico are delivering the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program (CDSMP) in English and Spanish, providing skill building crucial to managing one or more chronic conditions. CDSMP is one of several programs offered through Paths to Health NM. All programs are designed to help adults gain the confidence and skills they need to better manage or prevent chronic health conditions or injuries.

Evidence-based Practices

Coordinate chronic disease prevention efforts across CDC's Four Key Domains: 1) Achieving policy and environmental changes that support healthy communities. 2) Achieving improvements to the way that health care systems detect, manage and control chronic diseases and risk factors through early detection and clinical preventive services. 3) Enhancing clinic-community linkages so that people at high risk can better take charge of their health through self-management programs and other community supports. 4) Providing data and information for decision making at the state level through a strong foundation in surveillance and epidemiology.

Available Services

For information about the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program and other available programs in your community, please access the Paths to Health NM website at

Health Program Information

In support of coordinated chronic disease efforts, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has encouraged state chronic disease programs to work collaboratively by sharing basic functions such as data management, communication, partnership development, and implementation of a statewide chronic disease plan. CDC has provided funding to a number of states, including New Mexico, to maximize the reach of chronic disease programs.
Page Content Updated On 01/24/2019, Published on 01/28/2019
The information provided above is from the New Mexico Department of Health's NM-IBIS web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: "Retrieved Sun, 05 December 2021 from New Mexico Department of Health, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site:".

Content updated: Mon, 28 Jan 2019 14:31:45 MST