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Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

BRFSS logo

In 1981, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began assisting states in conducting risk factor surveys. The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is the largest, continuously conducted, telephone survey in the world. It is conducted by states under the guidance of Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The survey is designed to identify and monitor risk factors for chronic diseases and other leading causes of death.

A point in time survey was done in Iowa in 1982. In 1988, Iowa began full participation in CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).

The BRFSS is an Iowa-specific surveillance system that surveys adults 18 years and older on self-reported health behaviors. Each month a random sample of structured telephone interviews are done. Questions in the survey relate to nutrition, physical activity, tobacco use, hypertension, blood cholesterol, alcohol use, inadequate preventive health care, and other risk factors. An annual BRFSS report is published. Because the survey is conducted on an annual basis, the continuous use of this system allows analysis of trends over time.

Documents denoted by Adobe Acrobat Logo are available in Portable Document Format (.pdf).

Links to Iowa BRFSS Information:

Links to Other Iowa BRFSS Information and Presentation Materials:

Links to Other BRFSS Information:

For more information:

  • Donald H. Shepherd, PhD.
    BRFSS Coordinator
    Iowa Department of Public Health
    321 East 12th Street
    Lucas State Office Building
    Des Moines, Iowa 50319-0075
    Phone (515) 281-7132
    Fax: (515) 281-4958
  • Or, use the "Contact Us" page to submit questions online.