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Disability and Health State Chartbook - 2006 Profiles of Health for Adults With Disabilities

Disability and Health State Chartbook - 2006 Profiles of Health for Adults With Disabilities

Where did the information in this book come from?

The information for this Chartbook came from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey (BRFSS survey). The BRFSS survey ( is a state-based health survey in which people agree to answer questions about their health. The survey also collects information about behaviors that affect health (such as smoking and exercise), health care practices (such as getting a flu shot), and access to health care (such as having health insurance).

The BRFSS survey is a telephone survey done every year by each state or territory health department. The survey has three parts. The first part consists of questions that are used in every state. The second part has sets of developed questions that states may choose to ask. The third part consists of questions that states may develop on their own.

Any resident of the United States who has a phone might be called (but not people who only have cell phones). Some groups of people are not included in the BRFSS. Children under 18 years of age and people who are in an institution, such as a jail, nursing home, or hospital, are not included in the survey. People who do not have a telephone and those who do not speak either English or Spanish are not included. Some people who have a disability may not be included because they do not understand the questions (such as people with intellectual disability), cannot get to the phone before it stops ringing (such as people who do not walk), or people who use a special telephone that sounds to the caller like a fax machine (such as people who are deaf).

In the BRFSS survey, people are considered to have a disability if they answer “Yes” to one or both of the following questions:

  1. Are you limited in any way in any activities because of physical, mental, or emotional problems?
  2. Do you now have any health problem that requires you to use special equipment, such as a cane, a wheelchair, a special bed, or a special telephone?

The United States has a national plan to improve the nation’s health, called Healthy People 2010 (HP2010). HP2010 includes a list of the major health concerns for the United States, known as the leading health indicators. These indicators help people and their communities focus on actions that can improve health. The BRFSS survey collects information about some of these indicators every year. The yearly survey helps to track the progress of health programs and shows if the health programs are meeting the HP2010 goals. The BRFSS survey collects information on a number of these health indicators for each state including obesity, smoking, physical activity, immunization (shots), and health care access. This Chartbook includes information on these indicators.