The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System: Past, Present, and Future

Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98121, USA.
Annual Review of Public Health (Impact Factor: 6.47). 05/2009; 30(1):43-54. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.publhealth.031308.100226
Source: PubMed


The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is a large state-based telephone survey. BRFSS is designed to monitor the leading risk factors for morbidity and mortality in the United States at the local, state, and national levels. The BRFSS has proven to be a powerful tool for building heath-promotion activities. However, the use of telephone-based, random-digit-dial (RDD) methods in public health surveys and surveillance is at a crossroads. Rapid changes in telecommunication, declines in participation rates, increases in the required level of effort and associated costs are becoming key challenges for BRFSS. To maintain the highest data quality and service to the local and state health departments, BRFSS has adopted an ongoing effort to improve coverage and response to the survey. This article provides an overview of the issues faced by BRFSS and the strategies in place to address them.

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Available from: Ali Mokdad
    • "The BRFSS is a large, ongoing, nationally representative, telephone-based survey, conducted annually by state health departments and the health departments of the District of Columbia and several inhabited territories, with technical assistance and support from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Mokdad, 2009). For this analysis, we pooled the data from the 2000 and 2001 BRFSS surveys. "
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    • "He indicated that the BRFSS data has improved tremendously since 1984. Therefore, when the BRFSS data and other national household surveys are compared, the BRFSS data have always been considered reliable and valid (Mokdad, 2009; Nelson et al. 2001 Nelson et al. , 2003). My inquiry regarding reliability and validity of BRFSS mental and general health data revealed that overall the mental and general health date are moderately valid and highly reliable. "
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