There is a need to build a robust coordinated surveillance system on the incidence and prevalence of chronic diseases. Surveillance data are needed to:
•Describe and monitor the burden, trends, and patterns of these diseases
•Set parameters and metrics of research priorities
•Identify where to target resources for prevention, treatment, and delivery of care
•Track and monitor progress toward public health disease prevention/health promotion goals
Existing data sources (i.e., population surveys, registries, cohort studies, administrative data, and vital statistics) do not individually provide nationally representative data, cannot be linked, and are not currently readily accessible to all levels of users. One potential way to build such a system is to integrate and expand existing data sources.