Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS)

Chart the 2013-2015 BRFSS Data

Use our data visualization tool to access the BRFSS data to examine:
Click to Chart logo

  • chronic conditions
  • musculoskeletal health
  • health behaviors
  • health status
  • healthcare utilization/access

This tool allows users to analyze health issues by industry or occupation, using the BRFSS survey data collected from 2013 through 2015.  Worker Health Charts allows you to assess the data based on your interests, drill down to more specific industry and occupation groups, and examine results adjusted for demographic differences.

Data Dictionary for BRFSS in the Worker Health Charts

The following describe variables collected by the BRFSS used in analysis of worker health. These variables are included in the Worker Health Chart (WHC) tool.

Demographics, Employment Status, Industry, and Occupation
Subtopic1 Question2 Variable Name3 Notes4
Gender Indicate sex of respondent. Ask only if necessary. SEX Variable source: Core survey
Employment Status Are you currently…?
Please read:
1 Employed for wages
2 Self-employed
3 Out of work for 1 year or more
4 Out of work for less than 1 year
5 A Homemaker
6 A Student
7 Retired
Or
8 Unable to work
EMPLOY1 Variable source: Core survey
Responses of 1, 2, or 4 were recoded as “Employed.” Industry and occupation were asked of respondents employed in the last year.
Occupation What kind of work do you do? For example, registered nurse, janitor, cashier, auto mechanic.
If respondent unclear, ask “What is your job title?”
From Industry and Occupation Module; not available in the public dataset For those out of work at time of interview, the question was asked in past tense.

Categorized using National Health Interview Survey scheme of 22 major groups and 93 detailed groups (excluding Military Specific Occupations). See NCHS grouping details here.Cdc-pdf

Industry What kind of business or industry do you work in? For example: hospital, elementary school, clothing manufacturing, restaurant. From Industry and Occupation Module; not available in the public dataset For those out of work at time of interview, the question was asked in past tense.

Categorized using National Health Interview Survey scheme of 20 major groups and 78 detailed groups (excluding Armed Forces). See NCHS grouping details here.Cdc-pdf

Age What is your age? (AGE) _AGEG5YR

Calculated variable

Variable source: Calculated
Age is not available in the public dataset. _AGEG5YR provides age collapsed into 5-year age groups. WHC grouped these values into 18-29, 30-44, 45-64, 65+.
Education Level What is the highest grade or year of school you completed? (EDUCA) _EDUCAG

Calculated variable

WHC grouped responses into three categories: less than high school, high school graduate or GED, and education beyond high school.
Race Which one or more of the following would you say is your race? Please Read:
10 White
20 Black or African American
30 American Indian or Alaskan Native
40 Asian
41 Asian Indian
42 Chinese
43 Filipino
44 Japanese
45 Korean
46 Vietnamese
47 Other Asian
50 Pacific Islander
51 Native Hawaiian
52 Guamanian or Chamorro
53 Samoan
54 Other Pacific Islander
If more than one response, ask:
Which one of these groups would you say best represents your race?
_PRACE1

Calculated variable

Variable source: Calculated
_PRACE1 provides preferred race collapsed into the following groups:
1 White
2 Black or African American
3 American Indian or Alaskan Native
4 Asian
5 Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander
6 Other race
7 No preferred race
8 Multiracial but preferred race not answered
The original variables are not available in the public dataset.
WHC grouped these categories into White, Black, and Other Races.
Ethnicity Are you Hispanic, Latino/a, or Spanish origin?
If yes, ask:
Are you…
1 Mexican, Mexican American, Chicano/a
2 Puerto Rican
3 Cuban
4 Another Hispanic, Latino/a, or Spanish origin
_HISPANC

Calculated variable

_HISPANC provides ethnicity collapsed into Hispanic and not Hispanic.
The original variable is not available in the public dataset.

[1]  Subtopic lists the topics/subtopics/query options included in worker health charts (e.g. employment status, race, gender).

[2] Question provides either the exact wording of the question as administered during the BRFSS surveys or a paraphrase of the question for brevity. When multiple variables were used to create a calculated variable, the original variable name(s) is included in parentheses after the each question, if available. To learn more about the survey questions, view the BRFSS questionnaires.

[3] Variable Name lists the names given by the BRFSS program to each variable. When multiple variables were used for Subtopic calculations, all variables are listed. The variable names allow users to find the variables in the annual codebooks provided by the BRFSS program.

[4] Notes provide additional information about the variable.

Chronic Conditions
Subtopic1 Question2 Variable Name3 Notes4
Ever Diagnosed with Asthma Has a doctor, nurse, or other health professional ever told you that you had asthma? ASTHMA3  Variable source: Core survey
Ever Diagnosed with Diabetes Has a doctor, nurse, or other health professional ever told you that you have diabetes? Interviewer note: If “Yes” and respondent is female, ask “Was this only when you were pregnant?” DIABETE3 Variable source: Core survey
Those with borderline diabetes, pre-diabetes, or pregnancy-related diabetes were not considered to be diabetic.
Ever Diagnosed with Cardiovascular Disease Has a doctor, nurse, or other health professional ever told you that you had a… stroke? (CVDSTRK3) …heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction? (CVDINFR4) …angina or coronary heart disease? (CVDCRHD4) CVDSTRK3
CVDINFR4
CVDCRHD4
Variable source: Core survey
Cardiovascular disease was defined as a ‘yes’ response to at least one of the three listed questions.
Ever Diagnosed with Depression Has a doctor, nurse, or other health professional ever told you that you have a depressive disorder, including depression, major depression, dysthymia, or minor depression? ADDEPEV2 Variable source: Core survey

[1]  Subtopic lists the topics/subtopics/query options included in worker health charts (e.g. employment status, race, gender).

[2] Question provides either the exact wording of the question as administered during the BRFSS surveys or a paraphrase of the question for brevity. When multiple variables were used to create a calculated variable, the original variable name(s) is included in parentheses after the each question, if available. To learn more about the survey questions, view the BRFSS questionnaires.

[3] Variable Name lists the names given by the BRFSS program to each variable. When multiple variables were used for Subtopic calculations, all variables are listed. The variable names allow users to find the variables in the annual codebooks provided by the BRFSS program.

[4] Notes provide additional information about the variable.

Musculoskeletal Health
Subtopic1 Question2 Variable Name3 Notes4
Ever Diagnosed with Some Form of Arthritis Has a doctor, nurse, or other health professional ever told you that you have some form of arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, lupus, or fibromyalgia? Interviewer note: Arthritis diagnoses include: rheumatism, polymyalgia rheumatica; osteoarthritis (not osteoporosis); tendonitis, bursitis, bunion, tennis elbow; carpal tunnel syndrome, tarsal tunnel syndrome; joint infection, etc. HAVARTH3 Variable source: Core survey

[1]  Subtopic lists the topics/subtopics/query options included in worker health charts (e.g. employment status, race, gender).

[2] Question provides either the exact wording of the question as administered during the BRFSS surveys or a paraphrase of the question for brevity. When multiple variables were used to create a calculated variable, the original variable name(s) is included in parentheses after the each question, if available. To learn more about the survey questions, view the BRFSS questionnaires.

[3] Variable Name lists the names given by the BRFSS program to each variable. When multiple variables were used for Subtopic calculations, all variables are listed. The variable names allow users to find the variables in the annual codebooks provided by the BRFSS program.

[4] Notes provide additional information about the variable.

Health Behaviors
Subtopic1 Question2 Variable Name3 Notes4
Alcohol Use – Heavy Drinking During the past 30 days, how many days per week or per month did you have at least one drink of any alcoholic beverage such as beer, wine, a malt beverage, or liquor? (ALCDAY5) One drink is equivalent to a 12-ounce beer, a 5-ounce glass of wine, or a drink with one shot of liquor. During the past 30 days, on the days when you drank, about how many drinks did you drink on the average? (AVEDRNK2) ALCDAY5
(2013,2014)AVEDRNK2
(2013,2014)_RFDRHV5
(2015)

Calculated variable

Heavy drinking was defined as averaging more than 14 drinks per week for men, and more than 7 drinks per week for women.
For 2013 and 2014, drinks per week was calculated using the variables ALCDAY5 and AVEDRNK2. In 2015 the calculations were provided by BRFSS in the public dataset as _RFDRHV5.  See BRFSS documentation for details.
Alcohol Use – Binge Drinking Considering all types of alcoholic beverages, how many times during the past 30 days did you have X [X=5 for men, X=4 for women] or more drinks on one occasion? (DRNK3GE5) _RFBING5

Calculated variable

Binge drinking was defined as averaging 5 or more drinks for men, and 4 or more drinks for women on any one occasion.
Influenza Vaccination in the Past Year During the past 12 months, have you had either a flu shot or flu vaccine that was sprayed in your nose? FLUSHOT6
Obesity
(BMI>30)Obesity – Class 3
(BMI>40)
About how much do you weigh without shoes? (WEIGHT2) About how tall are you without shoes? (HEIGHT3) _BMI5

Calculated variable

BMI was calculated with variables WEIGHT2 and HEIGHT3 as Weight (kg) / Height (m)2 rounded to 2 decimal places.
Conversion factors:
0.4535924 kg/lb
0.0254 m/in
Current Smoking Have you smoked at least 100 cigarettes in your entire life? (SMOKE100) Do you now smoke cigarettes every day, some days, or not at all? (SMOKDAY2) _RFSMOK3

Calculated variable

 

Respondents were considered current smokers if they smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their lifetime (SMOKE100 = yes) and still smoked (SMOKDAY2 = yes)
Does Not Always Wear Seatbelt How often do you use seat belts when you drive or ride in the car? Would you say always, nearly always, sometimes, seldom, or never? SEATBELT

[1] Subtopic lists the topics/subtopics/query options included in worker health charts (e.g. employment status, race, gender).

[2] Question provides either the exact wording of the question as administered during the BRFSS surveys or a paraphrase of the question for brevity. When multiple variables were used to create a calculated variable, the original variable name(s) is included in parentheses after the each question, if available. To learn more about the survey questions, view the BRFSS questionnaires.

[3] Variable Name lists the names given by the BRFSS program to each variable. When multiple variables were used for Subtopic calculations, all variables are listed. The variable names allow users to find the variables in the annual codebooks provided by the BRFSS program.

[4] Notes provide additional information about the variable.

Healthcare Utilization / Access
Subtopic1 Question2 Variable Name3 Notes4
Health Care Coverage Do you have any kind of health care coverage, including health insurance, prepaid plans such as HMOs, or government plans such as Medicare, or Indian Health Service? HLTHPLN1 Variable source: Core survey

[1]  Subtopic lists the topics/subtopics/query options included in worker health charts (e.g. employment status, race, gender).

[2] Question provides either the exact wording of the question as administered during the BRFSS surveys or a paraphrase of the question for brevity. When multiple variables were used to create a calculated variable, the original variable name(s) is included in parentheses after the each question, if available. To learn more about the survey questions, view the BRFSS questionnaires.

[3] Variable Name lists the names given by the BRFSS program to each variable. When multiple variables were used for Subtopic calculations, all variables are listed. The variable names allow users to find the variables in the annual codebooks provided by the BRFSS program.

[4] Notes provide additional information about the variable.

Health Status
Subtopic1 Question2 Variable Name3 Notes4
Rated Health as Fair or Poor Would you say that in general your health is excellent, very good, good, fair, or poor? GENHLTH Variable source: Core survey

[1]  Subtopic lists the topics/subtopics/query options included in worker health charts (e.g. employment status, race, gender).

[2] Question provides either the exact wording of the question as administered during the BRFSS surveys or a paraphrase of the question for brevity. When multiple variables were used to create a calculated variable, the original variable name(s) is included in parentheses after the each question, if available. To learn more about the survey questions, view the BRFSS questionnaires.

[3] Variable Name lists the names given by the BRFSS program to each variable. When multiple variables were used for Subtopic calculations, all variables are listed. The variable names allow users to find the variables in the annual codebooks provided by the BRFSS program.

[4] Notes provide additional information about the variable.

Page last reviewed: July 3, 2018