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Notice to Readers: SMART BRFSS Provides Data Comparisons by Metropolitan and Micropolitan Statistical Area (MMSA)

Growth in sample sizes now enables CDC to offer data comparisons at the metropolitan level in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). BRFSS prevalence estimates can be generated for the U.S. Census Bureau's metropolitan and micropolitan areas (MMSAs) and metropolitan divisions. MMSA data comparing 30 health risk factors will be offered to the public next week via Selected Metropolitan/Micropolitan Area Risk Trends (SMART) BRFSS, a searchable Internet site.

For approximately 20 years, BRFSS has tracked health-risk behaviors, preventive health practices, and health-care access among different U.S. populations, identifying those at greatest risk for morbidity and mortality. However, while BRFSS has routinely provided data comparisons by sex, race/ethnicity, and age group, comparisons by geographic area have been limited to states and territories.

SMART BRFSS, with standardized methodology and timely (i.e., approximately 3 months) delivery of results, can be a vital tool for local public health officials, filling a critical need for local surveillance data to support implementation and evaluation of targeted programs and better planning of prevention efforts. In one SMART BRFSS comparison of data from 98 MMSAs, the unadjusted prevalence of self-rated fair or poor health ranged widely, from 6.7% in Bethesda-Frederick-Gaithersburg, Maryland, to 26.2% in Huntington-Ashland, West Virginia-Kentucky-Ohio (median: 13.7%). The SMART BRFSS Internet site will be available at


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