iStock_000012107870XSmallData is an instrumental component of public health that helps us monitor population health, plan and evaluate interventions, and track priorities. One of our most valuable sources of public health data is the annual Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), which is a telephone survey that collects data from Arizona adults 18 and older.

The BRFSS survey collects data related to several chronic diseases, tobacco use, alcohol consumption, and immunizations , just to name a few. The survey provides ADHS and our public health partners with detailed data about the health status of adults in Arizona. This is a key step in developing public health interventions that can help improve the overall health of our state. For example, the 2016 and 2017 BRFSS surveys include questions about e-cigarette use, which has emerged as a public health issue in recent years.

Adults 18 and older are randomly selected to take the telephone survey, which takes about 25 minutes to complete. All responses are anonymous. In addition to calling landlines, the BRFSS survey now includes cell phone numbers. There are also options for the deaf and hard of hearing. You can’t volunteer to take the survey, and if selected you’re not allowed to designate an alternate. This is why it’s important that every person who is selected take the time to complete the survey. This year’s BRFSS survey is currently open, and you can read the questionnaire on our website.

Arizona was one of the first 15 states to take part in the BRFSS when it was established in 1984 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The BRFSS now collects data in 50 states, the District of Columbia and three U.S. territories. Every year the BRFSS completes more than 400,000 interviews nationwide, making it the largest continuously conducted health survey system in the world.