Web Content Viewer
Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
Man talks on the phone while looking out of a kitchen window

Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

The 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 monitors 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. 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.

The Ohio BRFSS questionnaire consists of three parts: core modules, optional modules and state-added questions.  The core modules are asked by all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam each year or every other year. Questions on the core 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, sex, 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 and anxiety and depression that are jointly created by the states and CDC.  The Ohio BRFSS also includes state-added questions each year for programs and stakeholders that have interest in certain topic areas specific to their programmatic needs.

Mailing Address:

Ohio Department of Health
Ohio Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
246 North High Street
Columbus, OH 43215

Telephone: (614) 466-7774
Email: justina.sleesman@odh.ohio.gov