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Center for Health Systems Research & Development


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Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)

Regional: Eastern North Carolina

In 2003, East Carolina University's Center for Health Systems Research and Development (CHSRD) began adapting the state's BRFSS data (question responses) to the eastern North Carolina region.  This involved sub-setting the appropriate data from the state program and adjusting the sample weights with SUDAAN, a statistical program.  This methodology has been verified and tested against previous results.

CHSRD's aim is to describe and summarize the prevalence of those personal behaviors most relevant to the health issues affecting Eastern North Carolina and where data are sufficient, those issues affecting individual county and multi county sub-regions.  These descriptions will be posted on a periodic basis.

National Level

By the early 1980s it became evident that much of the chronic disease morbidity and mortality was linked to underlying individual behaviors.  The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) was developed to monitor and track certain sets of behavioral risk factors in adults that were known to contribute to disease processes.

The surveillance system is a series of questions administered via telephone surveys that are designed to be statistically representative.  These questions assess the level of prevalence of personal risk behaviors in a population rather than attributes and knowledge.  A core group of questions allows for state level comparisons.  For some questions comparisons of prevalence over time are possible for states and the nation.

General information is available at the CDC website: http://www.cdc.gov/brfss/about/index.htm

State Level

The North Carolina Center for Health Statistics has been administering the state's BRFSS since 1987.  The Center's website contains highlights and results for the state, several counties, and North Carolina's three primary regions: Eastern (Coastal Plain), Piedmont, and the West (Mountains).  Technical notes are also included.

Information concerning North Carolina's BRFSS program can be found at http://www.schs.state.nc.us/schs/brfss/results.html