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Tracking Conditions and Risk Behaviors

CDC's framework for preventing and controlling chronic diseases is supported by surveillance, which involves collecting data to better understand the extent of risk behaviors, to monitor the progress of prevention efforts, and to help public health professionals and legislators make more timely and effective decisions. Listed here are the major chronic disease surveillance systems that CDC supports.

Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System
The BRFSS is a state-based system of health surveys that make up the world’s largest telephone survey. The survey tracks health risks in the United States and uses this information to improve the health of the American people. Available resources include the following:

  • Prevalence Data: State-level estimates can be compared to other states and grouped by selected demographics.
  • Trends Data: Observe state-level trends in the prevalence of certain health risk behaviors.
  • SMART Data: View local area estimates and statewide “Quick View” charts.
  • BRFSS Maps: Generate maps displaying state- and local-level estimates.
  • Annual Survey Data: Download the data and documentation for all completed survey years.
  • BRFSS Questionnaires page: View questionnaires for the BRFSS survey in English and Spanish versions.
  • WEAT: Web Enabled Analysis Tool: It includes the following advanced analysis tools:
    • Cross Tabulation Analysis - Create Cross Tabulation Reports from the BRFSS data for Analysis.
    • Logistic Analysis - Analyze the BRFSS data using Logistic regression.

Chronic Disease Indicators
Chronic Disease Indicators (CDI) is a cross-cutting set of 90 indicators that were developed by consensus and that allows states and territories to uniformly define, collect, and report chronic disease data.

Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQOL)
The concept of health-related quality of life refers to a person or group's perceived physical and mental health over time. The purpose of HRQOL surveillance is to identify unmet population health needs; recognize trends, disparities, and determinants of health in the population; and inform decision making and program evaluation in the area of public health.

National Assisted Reproductive Technology Surveillance System (NASS)
To fulfill the mandate of the Fertility Clinic Success Rates and Certification Act of 1992, CDC maintains a surveillance system designed to collect information on ART treatment outcomes from all infertility clinics in the United States, and publishes an annual report. Data collected includes patient profile, reasons for ART treatment, type of ART procedure, treatment outcomes, and clinic contact information.

National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) is designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States. The survey is unique in that it combines interviews and physical examinations. NHANES is a major program of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). The survey includes numerous questions about tobacco use and questions related to cessation. NCHS is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and has the responsibility for producing vital and health statistics for the Nation.

National Health Interview Survey (NHIS)
The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) is the principal source of information on the health of the civilian noninstitutionalized population of the United States and is one of the major data collection programs of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) which is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). NHIS includes questions on tobacco use and cessation, and is the primary surveillance system from which prevalence estimates and trends for smoking are reported.

National Oral Health Surveillance System (NOHSS)
NOHSS presents data from state-based and national surveys to monitor trends in key indicators of oral health status, oral health care utilization, receipt of preventive interventions such as water fluoridation and dental sealants, and state oral health program infrastructure. NOHSS indicators are consistent with national Healthy People 2010 objectives and three indicators are among the Chronic Disease Indicators. Data presented in NOHSS are drawn from the National Health Interview Survey, BRFSS, state oral health surveys, the Water Fluoridation Reporting System, and Synopses of State and Territorial Dental Directors.

National Program of Cancer Registries
NPCR funds population-based cancer registries in 45 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Pacific Island jurisdictions to collect data on the occurrence of cancer; the type, extent, and location of the cancer; and the type of initial treatment. These data enable public health professionals to better understand and address the cancer burden.

National Youth Tobacco Survey
The National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) is a nationally representative cross-sectional school-based survey of public school students enrolled in grades 6-12. NYTS provides the data needed to inform the development, implementation, and evaluation of state and national comprehensive tobacco control programs that work to prevent young people from initiating tobacco use and help those who have already started using tobacco to quit. With measures that address key short-term, intermediate, and long-term indicators in the areas of prevalence, addiction, cessation, secondhand smoke, minors' access, enforcement, media and advertising, school curricula, and knowledge and attitudes, these data allow stakeholders to monitor and measure progress toward program goals and objectives.

Pediatric and Pregnancy Nutrition Surveillance System
The Pediatric (PedNSS) and Pregnancy Nutrition Surveillance System (PNSS) Web-based training site provides online training modules and uses case studies to show how to read a table, review data quality, interpret the data, use the data for program evaluation, and disseminate the data in reports and facts sheets.

Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System
PRAMS collects state-specific, population-based data on maternal attitudes and experiences before, during, and shortly after pregnancy.

State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation (STATE) System
The State Tobacco Activities Tracking and Evaluation (STATE) System is an electronic data warehouse containing up-to-date and historical state-level data on tobacco use prevention and control. The STATE System is designed to integrate many data sources to provide comprehensive summary data and facilitate research and consistent data interpretation. STATE System presently offers the ability to generate reports for the following topic areas: Behaviors, Demographics, Economics, Environment, Funding, Health Consequences and Costs, and Legislation. The STATE System is the primary data source for tobacco control legislation on Advertising, Excise Tax, Licensure, Preemption, Smokefree Indoor Air, and Licensure. These data are collected and analyzed by the STATE System. The STATE System was developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the Office on Smoking and Health (OSH), National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System
The YRBSS was developed to monitor priority health risk behaviors that contribute markedly to the leading causes of death, disability, and social problems among youth and adults in the United States. These behaviors are often established during childhood and early adolescence.

Page last reviewed: May 9, 2008
Page last modified: May 9, 2008
Content source: National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion

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