Using the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) for Exposure Tracking: Experiences from Washington State
Published Date:Oct 2004
Source:Environ Health Perspect. 112(14):1428-1433.
Environmental Public Health Tracking
Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
Mini-Monograph: Public Health Tracking
Funding:U50 CCU 022H38-01/CC/ODCDC CDC HHS/United States
U58 CCU 002118/CC/ODCDC CDC HHS/United States
U58 CCU 022819-01/CC/ODCDC CDC HHS/United States
Description:One of the goals of the National Environmental Public Health Tracking Network is to link environmental data with chronic disease data as a means of improving our understanding of the environmental determinants of disease. Such efforts will rely on the ongoing collection of population exposure information, and there are few systems in place to track population exposures. In many cases, exposures can be estimated by combining environmental contaminant data with data about human behaviors. The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) provides a good opportunity to implement tracking of exposure-related behaviors. Washington State has used the BRFSS to collection information on environmentally related knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors. In this article we present case studies of modules covering drinking water, perceptions of environmental risk, and radon awareness and testing. Data on exposure-related behaviors have been useful for population exposure assessments and program evaluation. Questions about knowledge and attitudes and perceptions of environmental issues were not as useful because they lacked sufficient detail from which to modify existing education efforts. In some cases these data had not been used at all, indicating that the need for the data had not been well established. National development efforts should focus on compiling existing questions and developing questions on topics that are a priority at the state and national levels to be included as core questions and optional modules in future BRFSS surveys.
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