Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) - VA Cooperative Studies Program (CSP)
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Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)

 

Data Sharing Statement

What's available?

Research data: De-identified public-use data files of individual-level national survey data

Available Documentation

Dates Data are Available

1984 - 2016, published annually

Access Criteria

Publically available on the BRFSS website

Study Characteristics

Objectives

To collect data on health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services from the noninstitutionalized adult population ≥18 years residing in the United States.

Era of Service

All

Population

U.S. residents ≥18 years

Study Design

Cross-sectional telephone survey

Time Period

1984 - present

Setting

National (All 50 states, District of Columbia, 3 U.S. territories)

N

See response rate

Response Rate

Year

Total N

Completed

Partial

Overall Rate

Landline

Cell Phone

Veteran N

2004

303,822

285,749

18,073

 52.7%

N/A

 N/A

42,840

2005

356,112

328,025

 28,087

 51.1%

N/A

 N/A

 51,005

2006

325,710

330,076

 25,634

 51.4%

N/A

 N/A

 50,721

2007

430,912

396,694

34,218

50.58%

N/A

 N/A

59,922

2008

414,509

395,076

19,433

53.31%

N/A

 N/A

56,067

2009

432,607

404,036

28,571

53.48%

N/A

 N/A

55,744 

2010

451,075

425,013

26,062

54.6%

N/A

 N/A

 59,017

2011

506,467

463,716

42,751

 49.72%

53.0%

27.9%

64,564

2012

475,687

441,608

34,079

45.2%

49.1%

35.3%

59,870

2013

491,773

433,220

58,553

45.3%

49.6%

37.8%

61,505 

2014

464,664

413,558

51,106

45.8%

48.7%

40.5%

62,120

2015

441,456 

375,059 

66,397 

47.1%

48.2%

47.2%

57,842

2016

486,303 

421,192

65,111

46.7%

47.7%

46.4%

63,919

Recruitment Method

  • 2010 & before: By landline only
  • 2011 - present: By landline and cell phone

Compensation

None

Data Collected

Core Competent (used by all states): Questions asked each year, and rotating core questions which are included in even- and odd- numbered years, including:

  • Demographics
  • Current health-related perceptions, conditions, and behaviors (e.g., health status, health-related quality of life, health care access, exercise, inadequate sleep, chronic health, oral health, tobacco use, alcohol consumption, immunization, falls, seatbelt use, drinking and driving, breast and cervical cancer screening, prostate cancer screening, colorectal cancer screening, HIV/AIDS).

Optional Modules: Sets of questions on specific topics selected by states to use on their questionnaires, including:

  • Adult asthma history and childhood asthma prevalence
  • Adult human papilloma virus (HPV)
  • Arthritis management
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Colorectal, prostate, breast, and cervical cancer screening
  • Diabetes and pre-diabetes
  • Emotional support and life satisfaction
  • Health care access
  • Industry and occupation
  • Influenza
  • Reactions to race, social context
  • Dietary behaviors (e.g., sodium or salt intake, consumption of sugar drinks)

State-added questions: Individual states develop or acquire these questions and add them to their BRFSS questionnaires. CDC neither edits nor evaluates these questions.

Data Collection Methods

Computer Assisted Telephone Interviewing (CATI)

Funding Source

There's wide sponsorship of the BRFSS survey, including:

  • Most divisions in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
  • Other CDC centers
  • Federal agencies, such as the Health Resources and Services Administration, Administration on Aging, Department of Veterans Affairs, and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Contact

BRFSS State Coordinators contact information

Selected Publication

Pierannunzi C, Hu SH, Balluz L. A systematic review of publications assessing reliability and validity of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), 2004-2011. BMC Medical Research Methodology 2013;13:49.

Brown ER, Kincheloe J, Breen N, Olson JL, et al. States’ Use of Local Population Health Data: Comparing Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and Independent State Health Surveys. J Public Health Manag Pract 2013 19(5):444-50.

Faestel, PM, Littell, CT, Vitiello, MV, Forsberg, CW, Littman AJ. Perceived Insufficient Rest or Sleep among Veterans: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System 2009. J Clin Sleep Med. 2013 Jun 15;9(6):577-84.

Britton PC, Ouimette PC, Bossarte RM. The effect of depression on the association between military service and life satisfaction. Quality of Life Research 2012 21(10):1857-62.

Additional publications using BRFSS data available on the BRFSS publications page and Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).  

More Information

BRFSS website