Data on Health and Well-being of American Indians, Alaska Natives, and Other Native Americans. Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)

12/01/2006

Sponsor: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Description: The objective of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is to collect uniform, state-specific data on preventive health practices and risk behaviors that are linked to chronic diseases, injuries, and preventable infectious diseases in the adult population. Factors assessed by the BRFSS include tobacco use, health care coverage, HIV/AIDS knowledge and prevention, and physical activity.
Relevant Policy Issues: Measurement of Health Status.
Data Type(s): Survey
Unit of Analysis: Individual
Identification of AI/AN/NA: Question: Which one or more of the following would you say is your race?
  • White
  • Black/African American
  • Asian
  • Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (NH/PI)
  • American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN)
  • Other

If more than one response is given, the following question is asked for clarification: Which of these groups best represent your race?

  • White
  • Black/African American
  • Asian
  • Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (NH/PI)
  • American Indian or Alaska Native (AI/AN)
  • Other
AI/AN/NA Population in Data Set: In 2005, out of 356,112 total records, 6,904 respondents reported AI/AN as the race that best described them and 1,503 reported NH/PI as the race that best described them.
Geographic Scope: The geographic scope of the study is national. Over time, the number of states participating in the survey has increased, so that by 1994, 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Virgin Islands were participating in the BRFSS. The following geographic indicators are available on the public use file for analysis: state, county, zip code, indicator of residence within or outside a metropolitan statistical area.
Date or Frequency: Data collection has been conducted yearly since 1984.
Data Collection Methodology: BRFSS field operations are managed by state health departments, which follow guidelines provided by the CDC. These health departments participate in developing the survey instrument and conduct the interviews either in-house or through use of contractors. The data are transmitted to the CDCs National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotions Behavioral Surveillance Branch for editing, processing, weighting, and analysis.

In 2005, all 53 states and territories used computer-assisted telephone interviewing (CATI). The core portion of the questionnaire lasts an average of 10 minutes. Interview time for modules and state-added questions is dependent upon the number of questions asked, but generally extend the interview period by an additional 5 to 10 minutes.

Participation: Optional, without incentives
Response Rate: Across the 53 states and territories, the median overall response rate in 2004 was 41.2 percent (minimum was 22.0 percent and maximum was 63.4 percent). The overall response rate assumes that all likely households are households and that 98 percent of known or probable households contain an adult who uses the phone number.
Sampling Methodology: In a telephone survey such as the BRFSS, a sample record is one telephone number in the list of all telephone numbers selected for dialing. In order to meet the BRFSS standard for participating states sample designs, sample records must be justifiable as a probability sample of all households with telephones in the state. All participating areas met this criterion in 2004. Fiftyone projects used a disproportionate stratified sample design. Puerto Rico, Guam and the Virgin Islands used a simple random sample design.
Analysis: Overall approximately 95 percent of U.S. households have telephones, but coverage ranges from 87 to 98 percent across states and also varies for subgroups. People living in the South, minorities, and those in lower socioeconomic groups typically have lower telephone coverage. No direct method of compensating for non-telephone coverage is employed by the BRFSS; however, weighting adjustments for differences in probability of selection and non-response may compensate to some degree for non-telephone coverage.
Strengths: Data are collected on a key policy issue, health. Multiple years of data are available. Large sample sizes are available for AI/ANs and NH/PIs.
Limitations: Many states included in the study have significant AI/AN/NA populations that may not be reached through phone interviews because they do not have telephones.
Other: An edited and weighted data file is provided to each participating health department for each year of data collection, and summary reports of state-specific data are prepared by CDC. Health departments use the data for a variety of purposes, including identifying demographic variations in health related behaviors, targeting services, addressing emergent and critical health issues, proposing legislation for health initiatives, and measuring progress toward state and national health objectives.
Access Requirements and Use Restrictions: Data are available to public at no cost.
Contact Information: Suzianne Ellington Garner, MPA
Deputy Chief, Behavioral Surveillance Branch
Division of Adult and Community Health
CDC
4770 Buford Hwy, MS K-66
Atlanta, GA 30341
(770) 488-6005
suzianne.garner@cdc.hhs.gov

Data can be accessed at http://www.cdc.gov/brfss.

 

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