Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System 2011 Report Now Available

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) was created by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to collect prevalence data on risk behaviors and preventive health practices that affect health status.  In 1987 the South Dakota Department of Health conducted its first BRFSS via telephone.  In 2011, the BRFSS data collection method incorporated cell phone users for the first time, and in turn the sampling methodology was changed, therefore 2011 estimates cannot be compared to previous years.  In South Dakota there were 8,259 respondents in 2011, of those 88% were landline users and 12% were cell phone users.   This article is intended to give you a brief review of some of the data available in the 2011 BRFSS report which is available at:

Selected Risk Factors:

General Health Status                                                                                         

Participants were asked how they would rate their health status; 15% of South Dakota adults stated their health was fair or poor.  Figure 1 examines the percent by age, for example 9% of 18-44 years olds state their health is fair or poor.  This percentage increases with age.  The national median was 14.5; Minnesota had the lowest percent (12) while West Virginia had the highest (25.1).


The prevalence for overweight and obesity combined was 64% in 2011.  This matches the nationwide median of 64%.  The lowest percent of respondents who were overweight or obese was 53% in D.C. and the highest percent was 69% in West Virginia.  As shown in Figure 2, 28% of South Dakota adults are obese while 36% are overweight.

 Tobacco Use

The prevalence of cigarette smoking in 2011 was 23%.  This is equivalent to 143,000 South Dakota adults currently smoking.  South Dakota was slightly higher than the national median of 21%.  Utah had the lowest prevalence (12%) while Kentucky had the highest prevalence (29%).  In 2011, the percentage of current smokers who tried to stop smoking one day or longer because they were trying to quit was 58%.

Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is defined as 5 or more alcoholic drinks on one occasion for males and 4 or more alcoholic drinks on one occasion for females, one or more times in the past month.  In South Dakota, 22% of 18 and older adults engage in binge drinking.  This is higher than the national rate of 18%.  Nationally Tennessee had the lowest prevalence at 10% while DC had the highest at 25%.


As stated earlier these are just a few of the selected statistics available in the report.  A more detailed description of the indicators, as well as a demographic breakdown is included for each indicator in the report.