This question about the number of permanent teeth removed because of tooth decay or gum disease is asked every other year. The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) asks several questions to determine an individual’s disability status. Disabilities identified by the BRFSS include mobility, cognitive, visual, hearing, self-care and independent living. The BRFSS does not include people living in institutions and group homes, who may be more likely to have a disability, and therefore may underestimate the prevalence of disability.
Vermont tracks risk behaviors using a telephone survey of adults called the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS). Since 1990, Vermont, along with the 49 other states, Washington D.C. and U.S. territories, has participated in the BRFSS with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Several thousand Vermonters are randomly and anonymously selected and called annually. An adult (18 or older) in the household is asked a uniform set of questions. The results are weighted to represent the adult population of the state. The results are used to plan, support, and evaluate health promotion and disease prevention programs.
Due to BRFSS weighting methodology changes beginning in 2011, comparisons between data collected in 2011 and later and that from 2010 and earlier should be made with caution. Differences between data from 2011 forward and earlier years may be due to methodological changes, rather than changes in opinion or behavior.
The CDC provides the Vermont Department of Health with funding each year to carry out the survey. Currently, ICF Macro with an office in Burlington, Vermont, is the interviewing contractor for the Vermont BRFSS.
Beginning in 2009, Vermont started interviewing adult residents on cellular telephones as well as landline telephones. This change ensures the survey is conducted among a representative sample of Vermont adults and was made due to changing telephone patterns with more households using primarily cellular telephones.