ODCP Bimonthly Newsletter March 2021- WV Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System


The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is conducted by the West Virginia Health Statistics Center (HSC) within the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR) in cooperation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It is a monthly telephone survey that utilizes a standard protocol and interviewing methods developed by the CDC.  HSC uses a stratified random sampling design; the strata or regions are combinations of geographically clustered census areas. 

The survey instrument includes three parts: the core module, optional modules, and state-added questions. Core module questions are a standardized set of questions used by all states. Optional modules include more detailed standardized questions about risk behaviors and health conditions and rotating core questions that are not used during that survey year.  Not all states use the same modules, so comparisons to other states or national averages are not possible. West Virginia’s state-added questions are based on the needs of various programs within DHHR and cannot be used for comparison analysis with other states.  

Survey interviews are conducted throughout the year by HSC using the same core questionnaire, standardized sampling methods, and methodology. This data is then submitted to the CDC monthly for further processing and analysis. Weighting and the adding of calculated variables are statistical and analytical methods that decrease potential bias and ensure that the data collected is representative of the population from which it is derived. Survey data is published online by the CDC on an annual basis for state level analysis.  Regional analysis for this report was provided by the HSC’s Epidemiology Unit.

State level data can be obtained using the BRFSS public use file: https://www.cdc.gov/brfss/annual_data/annual_2018.html.  Other state level prevalence estimates can be found using the Prevalence Data and Trend Analysis Tools: https://www.cdc.gov/brfss/data_tools.htm.

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