Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is the nation's premier system of health-related telephone surveys that collect state-level data from non-institutionalized U.S. adult residents regarding their health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services. Coordinated by the CDC and administered annually by each state, there are three categories of questions:

  • a standard set of core questions that each state is required to include in the survey
  • several modules of optional questions that each state can include or exclude based upon programmatic needs
  • customized questions drafted in-house by individual states to gather information on specific populations or to address state-specific health issues.

Additionally, BRFSS allows for geographic flexibility.  Populations can be targeted at the state level or as fine as census tract level.  The data are collected and analyzed with a standardized methodology developed by the CDC which allows Louisiana to validly compare our state estimates to those collected in any other state or to the US as a whole.  BRFSS has become a powerful tool for allocation of funds that target and build successful health promotion activities. 

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This report presents results from the specified years of BRFSS for the state of Louisiana. All civilian, non-institutionalized state residents aged 18 and older with a household landline telephone are eligible for survey participation. Respondents were selected randomly from the sample of eligible individuals.

The primary purpose of the survey is to provide population-based estimates for chronic disease and the associated risk factors for Louisiana residents. The results of the survey are used by public health agencies, non-profit organizations, academic institutions, state agencies, and others to develop initiatives and pro-grams to improve the health of Louisiana residents.

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BRFSS Publications

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Project history with relevant milestones

Established in 1984 with 15 states, BRFSS now collects data in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and three U.S. territories. More than 400,000 adult interviews are completed each year, making it the largest continuously conducted health survey system in the world.  Louisiana has been part of the BRFSS system since 1989 and has collected an average of 7,812 surveys per year over the last five years.  Currently, the targeted number of complete surveys for a given year is split into 30 percent cell phone to 70 percent land line in order to obtain a sample that represents the entire age range of adults 18 years of age and older.

Important Notification for Survey Years 2011 and Beyond

Starting in 2011 BRFSS estimates can no longer be directly compared to estimates from previous years, causing a break in the trend line. All years going forward from 2011 can be compared to one another. New methodological changes of adding cell phone sampling and using a larger number of socio-demographics to weight the data greatly improves the accuracy, coverage, validity, and representativeness of BRFSS data, however it prevents comparisons to data using the prior survey methodology. For more information on these changes, please visit:


For questions about the Louisiana Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, please contact Laurie Freyder, BRFSS Program Manager at