Begin Main Content Area

Behavioral Health Risks of Pennsylvania Adults

The 2017 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) estimates (HTML) are the most current available. The 2017 BRFSS report has transitioned to a user-friendly interactive, web-based report. Included in the report you will find analysis of all 32 topic areas, health district and regional maps and health district-level reports with comparisons to Pennsylvania.

The BRFSS is a sample based survey, making it necessary to weight the data for calculating percentages. This adjusts for under-representation of subgroups. Confidence intervals are shown for percentages and are calculated at the 95% level. These provide a basis for quality analysis and comparability. Please refer to the Technical Notes section for a more thorough discussion of these concerns.

The 2011 survey marks the first year in which the Pennsylvania BRFSS collected data from both landline and cell phone respondents. To allow for the incorporation of cell phone data, a new weighting methodology called iterative proportional fitting or raking was implemented in 2011. A detailed explanation of raking can be referenced in our Changes in the BRFSS Methodology (PDF) document.  These methodological changes will cause breaks in BRFSS trends, but they will also significantly improve the accuracy, coverage, validity, and representativeness of the Pennsylvania BRFSS. Therefore, measures should be re-benchmarked at the 2011 estimate values, and not compared to BRFSS estimates from previous years.

The BRFSS reports can be found below:


Past and present BRFSS questionnaires can be found below:


BRFSS statistics for 2017 and prior years can be found through the Pennsylvania Department of Health's Enterprise Data Dissemination Informatics Exchange (EDDIE).  In addition to single-year statistics as seen in the annual report, three-year aggregate statewide and regional statistics are available, including county and county aggregate BRFSS statistics for larger populated counties.

To view national BRFSS data for all states, visit the CDC's BRFSS Website and see how Pennsylvania compares to other states for health risk behaviors.

BRFSS Data Collection Protocols

Below are Data Collection Protocols for the surveys conducted for the BRFSS. The CDC's Division of Behavioral Surveillance adjusts the data collection process frequently and provides updates as changes occur.

BRFSS Data User Guide (PDF) - An overview of BRFSS process including sample design and weighting.

Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System Operational and User's Guide, Version 3 (PDF) - An older, more comprehensive version of the User Guide.  Some items have been updated in more recent versions.

BRFSS Data Collection Protocol (PDF) - Includes disposition codes and call-back rules.

Overview of Proposed Cell Phone Sampling Frame Changes (PDF) - Describes changes in cell phone sample screening including potential future changes.

2014 BRFSS Asthma Call-back Guidelines (PDF)