The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) : overview : BRFSS 2018
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The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) : overview : BRFSS 2018

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    Provides information on the background, design, data collection and processing, and the statistical and analytical issues for the combined landline and cell phone data set.

    The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is a collaborative project between all of the states in the United States (US) and participating US territories and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The BRFSS is administered and supported by CDC's Population Health Surveillance Branch, under the Division of Population Health at the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. The BRFSS is a system of ongoing health-related telephone surveys designed to collect data on health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, health care access, and use of preventive services from the noninstitutionalized adult population (≥ 18 years) residing in the United States.

    The BRFSS was initiated in 1984, with 15 states collecting surveillance data on risk behaviors through monthly telephone interviews. Over time, the number of states participating in the survey increased; BRFSS now collects data in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia and participating US territories. During 2018, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico collected BRFSS data. In this document, the term “state” refers to all areas participating in the BRFSS, including the District of Columbia, Guam, and Puerto Rico.

    BRFSS’s objective is to collect uniform state-specific data on health risk behaviors, chronic diseases and conditions, access to health care, and use of preventive health services related to the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. Factors assessed by the BRFSS in 2018 included health status, healthy days/health-related quality of life, health care access, exercise, inadequate sleep, chronic health conditions, oral health, tobacco use, e-cigarettes, alcohol consumption, immunization, falls, seat belt use, drinking and driving, breast- and cervical cancer screening, prostate cancer screening, colorectal cancer screening, and HIV/AIDS knowledge. Since 2011, BRFSS has been conducting both landline telephone- and cellular telephone-based surveys. All the responses were self-reported; proxy interviews are not conducted by the BRFSS. In conducting the landline telephone survey, interviewers collect data from a randomly selected adult in a household. In conducting the cellular telephone survey, interviewers collect data from adults answering the cellular telephones residing in a private residence or college housing. Beginning in 2014, all adults contacted through their cellular telephone were eligible, regardless of their landline phone use (i.e., complete overlap).


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