Nearly year-round, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) participates in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)—the world's largest continuously conducted health survey system in the world. The BRFSS is a random telephone survey of non-institutionalized individuals aged 18 or older that is used to track health risks, behaviors and preventative health practices in the United States. In 1981, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with selected states, initiated a telephone based behavioral risk factor surveillance system to monitor health risk behaviors. As of 1993, participation in the BRFSS expanded to include all 50 States, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. South Carolina has been administering the BRFSS since 1984. The basic philosophy is to collect data on actual behaviors, rather than on attitudes or knowledge, that would be especially useful for planning, initiating, supporting, and evaluating health promotion and disease prevention programs. You can learn more about the national system here.
South Carolina has used the BRFSS system to:
- Document the need for and monitor the progress of prevention programs, including those targeting tobacco use, breast and cervical cancer, injury prevention, cardiovascular disease, and populations with disparate disease (rural, minority).
- Identify the prevalence of a sedentary lifestyle as a significant risk factor in the state and develop programs within counties to encourage fitness activities through environmental and policy changes at the community level.
- Strengthen and promote communication and collaboration among other agencies and organizations to support community efforts to improve health.
- Assess the quality of life of South Carolina residents and determine the distribution of these indicators across subgroups in the population.
- Provide data for the development of educational and environmental policy change efforts.
- If you need BRFSS data that is not available on this site, please email Carlos Avalos.
SC BRFSS coordinator