The Texas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), initiated in 1987, is a federally supported landline and cellular telephone survey that collects data about Texas residents regarding their health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services. Texas BRFSS is an important tool for decision-making throughout DSHS and the public health community. Public and private health officials at the federal, state, and local levels rely on the BRFSS to identify public health problems, set priorities and goals, design policies and interventions, as well as evaluate the long term impact of these efforts.
This surveillance can be used to monitor the Healthy People 2020 Objectives for current smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, exercise and physical activity, flu and pneumonia vaccinations, cholesterol and cancer screenings, seat belt use, as well as other risk factors.
The BRFSS is administered under the direction of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) so that survey methods and much of the questionnaire are standardized across all BRFSS surveys in the 50 states, three territories, and the District of Columbia. As a result, comparisons can be made among states and to the nation.
CDC provides a core questionnaire that the states may choose to supplement with optional modules and state-added questions. The monthly files go through extensive edits and are compiled into an annual file shortly after the end of the calendar year. Prevalence estimates of risk factors, health indicators, and preventive health practices can be obtained using the Texas BRFSS query system.
On occasion, the DSHS Center for Health Statistics works with the Texas public health community to oversample their area in the statewide BRFSS or administer and facilitate special interest, point-in-time health surveys. The primary focus of this effort in recent years has been to acquire data for evaluation and decision-making at the local level. Data from Texas BRFSS oversamples can also be obtained using the Texas BRFSS oversamples query system.