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Concept: Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System


The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society have determined that adults require ≥7 hours of sleep per day to promote optimal health (1). Short sleep duration (<7 hours per day) has been linked to adverse health outcomes including cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes, depression, and anxiety, as well as safety issues related to drowsy driving and injuries (1,2). Additional research has found that sleep duration varies by characteristics such as race, education, marital status, obesity, and cigarette smoking (3). Work-related factors such as job stress, work hours, shift work, and physically demanding work have been found to be associated with sleep duration and quality (4-6). All of these work factors vary by industry and occupation of employment, and the prevalence of short sleep duration has been shown to vary by broad industry and occupation category (7). To provide updated and more detailed information about which occupation groups have the highest prevalences of short sleep duration, CDC analyzed data from currently employed adults surveyed for the 2013 and 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) in 29 states. Among 22 major occupation groups, the highest prevalences of short sleep duration were among workers in the following five groups: Production (42.9%), Healthcare Support (40.1%), Healthcare Practitioners and Technical (40.0%), Food Preparation and Serving-Related (39.8%), and Protective Service (39.2%). The significant differences among occupation groups in the prevalence of short sleep duration suggest that work-related factors should be further evaluated as they might relate to sleep.

Concepts: Medicine, Smoking, Cigarette, Sleep, Employment, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Working time, American Academy of Sleep Medicine


Asthma, a chronic respiratory disease affecting over 18.7 million American adults, has marked disparities by gender, race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Our goal was to identify gender-specific demographic and socioeconomic determinants of asthma prevalence among U.S. adults using data from the Behavioral Risk Factors Surveillance System (BRFSS) and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).

Concepts: Medicine, Epidemiology, Diseases and disorders, Respiratory disease, Asthma, Sociology, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Self-determination


Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among adults aged ≥65 years (older adults). During 2014, approximately 27,000 older adults died because of falls; 2.8 million were treated in emergency departments for fall-related injuries, and approximately 800,000 of these patients were subsequently hospitalized.* To estimate the numbers, percentages, and rates of falls and fall injuries among older adults by selected characteristics and state, CDC analyzed data from the 2014 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) survey. In 2014, 28.7% of older adults reported falling; the estimated 29.0 million falls resulted in 7.0 million injuries. Known effective strategies for reducing the number of older adult falls include a multifactorial clinical approach (e.g., gait and balance assessment, strength and balance exercises, and medication review). Health care providers can play an important role in fall prevention by screening older adults for fall risk, reviewing and managing medications linked to falls, and recommending vitamin D supplements to improve bone, muscle, and nerve health and reduce the risk for falls.

Concepts: Health care, Health care provider, Medicine, Death, Muscle, Approximation, Estimation, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System


The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that the daily intake of calories from added sugars not exceed 10% of total calories.* Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) are significant sources of added sugars in the diet of U.S. adults and account for approximately one third of added sugar consumption (1). Among adults, frequent (i.e., at least once a day) SSB intake is associated with adverse health consequences, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease (2). According to the 2009-2010 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), an in-person and phone follow-up survey, 50.6% of U.S. adults consumed at least one SSB on a given day (3). In addition, SSB intake varies by geographical regions (4,5): the prevalence of daily SSB intake was higher among U.S. adults living in the Northeast (68.4%) and South (66.7%) than among persons living in the Midwest (58.8%). In 2013, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), a telephone survey, revised the SSB two-item optional module to retain the first question on regular soda and expand the second question to include more types of SSBs than just fruit drinks. Using 2013 BRFSS data, self-reported SSB (i.e., regular soda, fruit drinks, sweet tea, and sports or energy drinks) intake among adults (aged ≥18 years) was assessed in 23 states and the District of Columbia (DC). The overall age-adjusted prevalence of SSB intake ≥1 time per day was 30.1% and ranged from 18.0% in Vermont to 47.5% in Mississippi. Overall, at least once daily SSB intake was most prevalent among adults aged 18-24 years (43.3%), men (34.1%), non-Hispanic blacks (blacks) (39.9%), unemployed adults (34.4%), and persons with less than a high school education (42.4%). States can use the data for program evaluation and monitoring trends, and information on disparities in SSB consumption could be used to create targeted intervention efforts to reduce SSB consumption.

Concepts: Nutrition, Diabetes mellitus type 2, Obesity, United States, Coffee, Sugar, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Drink


The effects of marijuana use on workplace safety are of concern for public health and workplace safety professionals. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia have enacted laws legalizing marijuana at the state level for recreational and/or medical purposes. Employers and safety professionals in states where marijuana use is legal have expressed concerns about potential increases in occupational injuries, such as on-the-job motor vehicle crashes, related to employee impairment. Data published in 2017 by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) showed that more than one in eight adult state residents aged ≥18 years currently used marijuana in 2014 (13.6%) and 2015 (13.4%) (1). To examine current marijuana use by working adults and the industries and occupations in which they are employed, CDPHE analyzed data from the state’s Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) regarding current marijuana use (at least 1 day during the preceding 30 days) among 10,169 persons who responded to the current marijuana use question. During 2014 and 2015, 14.6% of these 10,169 Colorado workers reported current marijuana use, with the highest reported prevalence among workers in the Accommodation and Food Services industry (30.1%) and Food Preparation and Serving (32.2%) occupations. Understanding the industries and occupations of adults with reported marijuana use can help direct and maximize impact of public health messaging and potential safety interventions for adults.

Concepts: Epidemiology, U.S. state, Law, Employment, State, Occupational safety and health, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Colorado


Workers in various industries and occupations are at risk for work-related asthma* (1). Data from the 2006-2007 adult Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) Asthma Call-back Survey (ACBS), an in-depth asthma survey conducted with respondents who report an asthma diagnosis, from 33 states indicated that up to 48% of adult current asthma might be related to work and could therefore potentially be prevented (2). Identification of the industries and occupations with increased prevalence of asthma might inform work-related asthma intervention and prevention efforts. To assess the industry-specific and occupation-specific proportions of adults with current asthma by state, CDC analyzed data from the 2013 BRFSS industry and occupation module, collected from 21 states for participants aged ≥18 years who, at the time of the survey interview, were employed or had been out of work for <12 months. Among these respondents, 7.7% had current asthma; based on the Asthma Call-back Survey results, this finding means as many as 2.7 million U.S. workers might have asthma caused by or exacerbated by workplace conditions. State-specific variations in the prevalence of current asthma by industry and occupation were observed. By state, current asthma prevalence was highest among workers in the information industry (18.0%) in Massachusetts and in health care support occupations (21.5%) in Michigan. Analysis of BRFSS industry and occupation and optional asthma modules can be used to identify industries and occupations to assess for asthma among workers, identify workplace exposures, and guide the design and evaluation of effective work-related asthma prevention and education programs (1).

Concepts: Asthma, Employment, State, Adult, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Industry


Rural populations in the United States have well documented health disparities, including higher prevalences of chronic health conditions (1,2). Doctor-diagnosed arthritis is one of the most prevalent health conditions (22.7%) in the United States, affecting approximately 54.4 million adults (3). The impact of arthritis is considerable: an estimated 23.7 million adults have arthritis-attributable activity limitation (AAAL). The age-standardized prevalence of AAAL increased nearly 20% from 2002 to 2015 (3). Arthritis prevalence varies widely by state (range = 19%-36%) and county (range = 16%-39%) (4). Despite what is known about arthritis prevalence at the national, state, and county levels and the substantial impact of arthritis, little is known about the prevalence of arthritis and AAAL across urban-rural areas overall and among selected subgroups. To estimate the prevalence of arthritis and AAAL by urban-rural categories CDC analyzed data from the 2015 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). The unadjusted prevalence of arthritis in the most rural areas was 31.8% (95% confidence intervals [CI] = 31.0%-32.5%) and in the most urban, was 20.5% (95% CI = 20.1%-21.0%). The unadjusted AAAL prevalence among adults with arthritis was 55.3% in the most rural areas and 49.7% in the most urban. Approximately 1 in 3 adults in the most rural areas have arthritis and over half of these adults have AAAL. Wider use of evidence-based interventions including physical activity and self-management education in rural areas might help reduce the impact of arthritis and AAAL.

Concepts: Population, United States, U.S. state, Rural, Approximation, Estimation, Prevalence, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System


Using data from the 2011 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), we examined households in 13 states (N = 81,012) in which the respondent or another adult household member experienced increased confusion or memory loss (ICML) in the preceding 12 months. A total of 12.6% of households reported at least 1 adult who experienced ICML, and in 5.4% of households all adults experienced ICML. Based on these results, an estimated 4 million households in these 13 states have a member with ICML, potentially affecting more than 10 million people. This study can inform public health communication campaigns aimed at increasing awareness of the signs and symptoms of cognitive decline and augment community planning efforts so that the needs of households in which 1 or more adults has cognitive decline are considered.

Concepts: Psychology, Epidemiology, Cognition, Household, Adult, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System


Hypertension, which affects nearly one third of adults in the United States, is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke (1), and only approximately half of those with hypertension have their hypertension under control (2). The prevalence of hypertension is highest among non-Hispanic blacks, whereas the prevalence of antihypertensive medication use is lowest among Hispanics (1). Geographic variations have also been identified: a recent report indicated that the Southern region of the United States had the highest prevalence of hypertension as well as the highest prevalence of medication use (3). Using data from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), this study found minimal change in state-level prevalence of hypertension awareness and treatment among U.S. adults during the first half of the current decade. From 2011 to 2015, the age-standardized prevalence of self-reported hypertension decreased slightly, from 30.1% to 29.8% (p = 0.031); among those with hypertension, the age-standardized prevalence of medication use also decreased slightly, from 63.0% to 61.8% (p<0.001). Persistent differences were observed by age, sex, race/ethnicity, level of education, and state of residence. Increasing hypertension awareness, as well as increasing hypertension control through lifestyle changes and consistent antihypertensive medication use, requires diverse clinical and public health intervention.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Hypertension, United States, Poverty in the United States, U.S. state, Southern United States, Hispanic and Latino Americans, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System


Falls are the leading cause of injury-related morbidity and mortality among older adults, with more than one in three older adults falling each year, resulting in direct medical costs of nearly $30 billion. Some of the major consequences of falls among older adults are hip fractures, brain injuries, decline in functional abilities, and reductions in social and physical activities. Although the burden of falls among older adults is well-documented, research suggests that falls and fall injuries are also common among middle-aged adults. One risk factor for falling is poor neuromuscular function (i.e., gait speed and balance), which is common among persons with arthritis. In the United States, the prevalence of arthritis is highest among middle-aged adults (aged 45-64 years) (30.2%) and older adults (aged ≥65 years) (49.7%), and these populations account for 52% of U.S. adults. Moreover, arthritis is the most common cause of disability. To examine the prevalence of falls among middle-aged and older adults with arthritis in different states/territories, CDC analyzed data from the 2012 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) to assess the state-specific prevalence of having fallen and having experienced a fall injury in the past 12 months among adults aged ≥45 years with and without doctor-diagnosed arthritis. This report summarizes the results of that analysis, which found that for all 50 states and the District of Columbia (DC), the prevalence of any fall (one or more), two or more falls, and fall injuries in the past 12 months was significantly higher among adults with arthritis compared with those without arthritis. The prevalence of falls and fall injuries is high among adults with arthritis but can be addressed through greater dissemination of arthritis management and fall prevention programs in clinical and community practice.

Concepts: Middle age, United States, Washington, D.C., U.S. state, Old age, Injuries, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention