Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System

Personal health behaviors — such as cigarette smoking, excessive drinking, poor eating habits, or lack of exercise — have a major impact on the health of the population and contribute to the leading causes of disease and premature death.

Vermont tracks risk behaviors using a telephone survey of adults called the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS). The results are used to plan, support, and evaluate health promotion and disease prevention programs. These are used to track Department of Health goals, such as Healthy Vermonters 2020, and many other BRFSS data reports.

Since 1990, Vermont, along with the 49 other states and three territories, has participated in the BRFSS with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC provides the Vermont Department of Health with funding each year to carry out the survey. Currently, ICF Macro in Burlington, Vermont is the interviewing contractor for the Vermont BRFSS.

More than 6,000 Vermonters are randomly and anonymously selected and called annually. An adult (18 or older) in the household is asked a uniform set of questions. The results are weighted to represent the adult population of the state.

In 2009, Vermont started interviewing adult residents on cellular telephones as well as landline telephones.  This change ensures the survey is conducted among a representative sample of Vermont adults. The inclusion of cellular telephones was in response to changing telephone patterns, as more household use now use primarily cellular telephones.

More information about the Vermont BRFSS


For information about the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, please contact:

Jessie Hammond, M.P.H.
Program Coordinator
Telephone: 802-863-7663

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