The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) has released the 2013 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Annual Report. The report shows Iowa continues to lead the nation in the percentage of older Iowans who receive an influenza and pneumonia vaccination, but the state faces challenges in categories such as obesity, smoking, and binge drinking.
The BRFSS is an Iowa-specific surveillance system that surveys adults 18 years and older on self-reported health behaviors. Each month a random sample of structured telephone interviews are done. Questions in the survey relate to nutrition, physical activity, tobacco use, hypertension, blood cholesterol, alcohol use, inadequate preventive health care, and other risk factors. Because the survey is conducted on an annual basis, the continuous use of this system allows analysis of trends over time.
Positive trends reports in the 2013 BRFSS Annual Report include:
Only six states had an equal or lower percentage of non-elderly residents without health insurance than Iowa.
Only six states had a lower prevalence of current asthma.
The percent of Iowans reporting being diagnosed with arthritis was lower in 2013 than in 2012.
Although the percent of Iowans age 65 and over who reported having a flu shot declined in relative standing among the states from past years, Iowa still has the highest percentage in the nation.
The percent of Iowans age 65 and over who reported having a pneumonia shot increased, and Iowa is ranked among the top ten states in this category.
Challenges raised by the report include:
The percent of respondents considered to be over their healthy weight (overweight or obese) increased from that reported in 2012.
Significantly fewer Iowans had engaged in some sort of physical activity for exercise during the past month other than their regular job in 2013 than in 2012.
The percent of current smokers increased from that reported in 2012.
There are only four states with a higher prevalence of reported binge drinking. States with high rates of binge drinking are mostly in the Midwest.
In terms of being tested for HIV, there were only three states with a lower percentage of people tested than Iowa’s.
Initiated in 1981, BRFSS is the largest, continuously conducted, telephone survey in the world. It is conducted by states under the guidance of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and is designed to identify and monitor risk factors for chronic diseases and other leading causes of death. Iowa began full participation in the survey in 1988.
To see the 2013 BRFSS Annual report, visit www.idph.state.ia.us/brfss/common/pdf/2013BRFSSannual.pdf.