What is the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System?
The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is a state-based system of health surveys that collects information on health risk behaviors, preventive health practices, and health care access primarily related to chronic disease and injury. For many states, the BRFSS is the only available source of timely, accurate data on health-related behaviors.
BRFSS was established in 1984 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); currently data are collected monthly in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Guam. More than 350,000 adults are interviewed each year, making the BRFSS the largest telephone health survey in the world. States use BRFSS data to identify emerging health problems, establish and track health objectives, and develop and evaluate public health policies and programs. Many states also use BRFSS data to support health-related legislative efforts.
For more information about the CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, visit http://www.cdc.gov/brfss/.
The DuPage County Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
Between 1996 and 2010, the DuPage County Health Department (DCHD) conducted its own BRFSS every four to five years. DCHD models its BRFSS after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's BRFSS to allow for comparisons of county, state, and national data as a means of identifying emerging health issues, and determining successes and areas for improvement. These findings enable the DCHD to effectively engage in county-wide strategic health improvement planning.
Illinois also has a state-based BRFSS program, which provides state and county level data. For more information on the Illinois BRFSS program, visit http://app.idph.state.il.us/brfss/. Data for DuPage County from the state-based BRFSS program, as well as other quality of life indicators, can be found at www.impactdupage.org.