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The Florida Department of Health works to protect, promote & improve the health of all people in Florida through integrated state, county, & community efforts.

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Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)

Contact the Public Health Research Section

  •  (850) 245 - 4793
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    Mailing Address

    Division of Community Health Promotion 

    Florida Department of Health 

    4052 Bald Cypress Way, Bin A-24 

    Tallahassee, FL 32399 

Florida is one of 50 states conducting the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) with financial and technical assistance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This state-based telephone surveillance system is designed to collect data on individual risk behaviors and preventive health practices related to the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in the United States. Information from the survey is used for health planning, program evaluation, and monitoring health objectives within the Department of Health. Target population of BRFSS are people 18 years and older, who reside in a Florida household. In Florida, BRFSS started in 1986. Since then, it has been conducted annually. Sample Size and Response Rate, 1986-2015

The 2017 BRFSS is currently being conducted. If you receive a phone call from 239-896-1211 on behalf of the Florida Department of Health and CDC asking you to answer some questions about your health and health practices it is a legitimate phone call. If you have any questions or concerns about the Florida BRFSS please call 866-779-6122. We appreciate you taking the time to participate in the Florida BRFSS. This survey allows the Department to develop effective health policies and programs for all Floridians.



  • About BRFSS Questionnaires
  • Sampling and Weighting Methods
  • Data Analysis and Collection
  • What Can the DOH Provide?
  • How BRFSS Data is Used

The BRFSS questionnaire is jointly developed by CDC and state. Core questions are provided by CDC, and states are asked not to make any changes to these questions. Rotating core questions are those questions asked every other year. The emerging core is a set of questions, also called a test module, that typically focus on issues of a "late breaking" nature and are evaluated at the end of one year to determine their potential value in future surveys. The BRFSS also includes optional modules provided by CDC, which are sets of questions on selected topics. States may choose to add any of the modules. States can add their own original questions. Available Modules 1986-2016

Sampling Methods

Florida is using the disproportionate stratified sampling (DSS) from the 1999 survey. In DSS, phone numbers were drawn from two sets of telephone number blocks, and one adult is selected from one telephone number (Flow chart of DSS: http://www.floridashealth.com/reports-and-data/survey-data/behavioral-risk-factor-surveillance-system/_documents/DSS-flowchart.jpg). First, CDC purchases a list of randomly selected telephone numbers and provides it to each state. Then, as you can see from the flow chart, there are standard procedures to follow. If there is no answer, the interviewer redials up to 15 times across a period of time. If interviewer reaches a nonworking number or a business, calls to that number stop. If the interviewer reaches a household with more than one adult 18 or older, one of them is randomly selected for the interview.

Stratification

Prior to 2003, the Florida sample was stratified by seven regions, which were groups of counties that were contiguous but otherwise might have little in common with each other. From 2003 through 2006, Florida used three strata groups based on county population size: small (less than 50,000), medium (50,000-299,999) and large (300,000 or more), and a fourth stratum was added from 2004 through 2006 that sample areas with telephone exchanges that are known to have at least 45% minority households. In 2007 and 2010, the Florida sample has been stratified by county to ensure more useful estimates at the local level.

Weighting Adjustment

After the data collection is completed, data is cleaned and weighted by CDC. Data weighting is an important statistical process that attempts to remove bias in the sample. BRFSS data set is weighted by density status, geographic region, number of residential telephone numbers, number of adults, age, gender and race/ethnicity.

As we have seen so far, BRFSS is not based on simple random sampling. Because of this fact, we recommend that SAS/SUDAAN software be used to conduct data analysis. Confidence intervals are an important measures of the role of chance.

BRFSS data is collected by calendar year. Since 2000, the Florida Department of Health has contracted out the BRFSS data collection to a survey company. Data are collected through monthly telephone interviews, and the Department of Health regularly monitors interviews to maintain and ensure data quality. At the completion of the interviewing cycle each month, the survey company sends the data to CDC. At the end of the year, the CDC aggregates monthly data for the entire year. The Department of Health usually receives the annual dataset from the CDC in late spring following the survey administration year.

There is no charge to use BRFSS data. In order to recieve BRFSS data please fill out this form and send it to BRFSS@flhealth.gov. We can also provide technical assistance for those interested in conducting their own data analysis with SAS or SUDAAN. Prevalence data for the major questions is available at CDC BRFSS website at http://www.cdc.gov/brfss/.  At this website, you can view the estimated prevalences with 95% confidence intervals by demographic break down such as age gender race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status.

You can sign up to be notified of new Florida BRFSS reports and data here.

BRFSS data is collected and used for planning purposes at all levels of government to develop and improve health programs. Below are examples of how Florida Department of Health programs use BRFSS data.

The Burden of Oral Disease Surveillance Report provides a comprehensive overview of Florida's oral health status, including the prevalence of oral health indicators among various populations and information on risk and protective factors for oral health. www.flhealth.gov/dental/reports

The Florida Life Course Indicator Report is a comprehensive, state-level report that provides established indicators related to the Life Course Theory calculated for Florida. The goals of the Florida Life Course Indicator Report are to establish a knowledge base about the Life Course Theorgy among public health practitioners and to provide baseline measures to gauge progress as Florida moves forward in incorporating Life Course Theory into its public health efforts. www.flhealth.gov/floridalifecourse

FLHealth CHARTS provides a variety of visual tools to help people see trends in the data over time. Check out state and county level BRFSS data at FLHealth CHARTS. www.flhealthcharts.com


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