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Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System


The Ohio Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is the world's largest random-digit dial telephone survey that tracks health practices, health conditions and risk behaviors of adults 18 years and older in the United States.  Data for specific questions are also collected for children living in the household that are 17 years of age and younger.  Data are collected monthly in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam.  Since 1984, the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) has implemented the BRFSS survey in Ohio with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  The Ohio BRFSS is housed within the Chronic Disease and Behavioral Epidemiology Section, Center for Public Health Statistics and Informatics, Office of Performance Improvement, at ODH.

The purpose of the Ohio BRFSS is to monitor the behaviors associated with the major causes of preventable morbidity and mortality in the adult population of  Ohio, e.g. cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and injuries. The BRFSS is the primary source of state-specific data about health risk behaviors and health status among the states' resident population.  Data resulting from the survey are available to state and local level decision-makers, legislators, researchers, students and the general public.  BRFSS data are used in combination with other measures such as morbidity and mortality to identify emerging health problems; track trends in health risk behaviors over time; and develop, monitor and evaluate public health programs and policies.

The Ohio BRFSS conducts interviews using landline and cell phones, and beginning in 2011, a mail survey will also be implemented for data collection.  The survey is conducted by a contractor each month and calls are made seven days a week during both daytime and evening hours.  Ohio currently completes 700-1,000 interviews per month.  Data are collected statewide by the eight metropolitan/urban counties of Ohio, i.e., Cuyahoga, Franklin, Hamilton, Lucas, Mahoning, Montgomery, Stark and Summit; and by region, i.e., Northwest, Northeast, Central, Southwest and Southeast Ohio.

The Ohio BRFSS questionnaire consists of three parts: a core, optional modules and state-added questions.  The core questions continue to evolve over time and include topics such as health status, health care access, asthma, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, injury, tobacco and alcohol use, women's health, preventive health measures and HIV/AIDS.  Moreover, respondents are asked to provide demographic information such as age, gender, race, marital status, household income, employment status and educational level.  The optional modules are sets of questions on selected topics such as visual impairment and access to eye care, consumption of fruits and vegetables and the use of smokeless tobacco that are jointly created by the states and CDC.  The Ohio BRFSS also includes state-added questions each year for programs that have interest in certain topic areas specific to their programmatic needs.


Mailing Address:
Ohio Department of Health
Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Section
246 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43215

Telephone: (614) 466-7774
Fax: (614) 728-4638




Last Updated: 7/07/10