Using the behavioral risk factor surveillance system to monitor Year 2000 Objectives among American Indians.
The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) is a data set based on telephone surveys that have been conducted by States in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) of the Public Health Service. The authors examine the responses of persons identifying themselves as American Indian in the BRFSS to provide a profile of selected behavioral risk factors for men and women by geographic region. These profiles can be used to set health objectives and measures of progress. The BRFSS data for the period 1985 to 1988 were used. Separate (sex-specific) behavioral risk prevalence estimates were derived for Indians and whites for 4 geographic regions - Southwest, Plains, West Coast, and Other States. The system's behavioral risk estimates for the Plains region were compared with available data from behavioral risk surveys done in three American Indian communities (Blackfeet, Fort Peck, and Great Falls). Although large regional differences in the prevalence of these risk factors were found, the magnitude and direction of the differences were frequently similar among American Indians and whites living in the same geographic regions. The findings from the BRFSS among America Indians were largely consistent with independently collected data from more resource-intensive household surveys, at least when surveys from Montana were compared with system data from the Plains. When used in conjunction with community-specific surveys, BRFSS data may be useful for monitoring the progress of American Indians towards the Year 2000 national health objectives.