The New Jersey Behavioral Risk Factor Survey (NJBRFS) is an ongoing, anonymous health survey of New Jersey residents. It is partially funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as a component of the national Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). CDC has engaged all states and several territories to conduct the survey among its residents.
The primary purpose of CDC's BRFSS is to monitor major behavioral risk factors and chronic conditions associated with disability and death among adults. Behavioral risk factors are habits that can affect a person's health positively or negatively. Chronic disease, by CDC's definition, refers to conditions that last one year or more and require ongoing medical attention or limit activities of daily living or both.
The results from BRFSS are used to monitor selected public health objectives related to disease prevention and healthy behaviors, as outlined in the federal Healthy People initiative. NJBRFS is used similarly to track progress towards Healthy New Jersey objectives. The New Jersey State Health Assessment Data (NJSHAD) system houses data from the NJBRFS and posts profiles on assorted health-related conditions based on NJBRFS data, such as diabetes management, cholesterol screening, hypertension prevalence, health-related behaviors, etc.
NJBRFS has grown significantly since it was launched in 1991. Through 1995, the survey included about 1,500 residents a year. The sample size has continued to grow and is currently administered to a minimum of 7,500 randomly selected respondents on an annual basis.
If you are asked to participate in NJBRFS
As a New Jersey resident, you may be randomly selected to participate in the survey. You must be 18 years old or over and live in a private home or college dormitory to participate in the survey. Residents of jails, hospitals, or nursing homes are excluded.
If we call you, please consider participating in this important survey. Your caller ID will show that the New Jersey Department of Health is calling, indicating that we are not spam or solicitors. By participating in the survey, you will be helping the New Jersey Department of Health take the pulse of New Jersey’s health. The information is used to guide public health programs, measure the extent of health changes, and evaluate public health policies and programs across the State.
The survey takes about 20 minutes to complete. If you do not have time to complete the survey when contacted, we can arrange to call you back at a more convenient time.
Why you should participate
Your voice is important. By taking part in NJBRFS, you are helping us understand your health and the health of the community. With this knowledge, the State will be better prepared to provide resources to communities that experience heightened health challenges. This is a critical step in ensuring that we achieve health equity for all people and populations of New Jersey. Your answers to the questions may lead to the development of new programs to address health-related concerns and often highlight which programs or components of programs are beneficial and those which require an alternative approach.
Since we do not ask for or collect any personally identifiable information, such as your name and address, the information you provide cannot be traced back to you. Your answers are combined with answers from all other respondents; the survey data are made available publicly on the New Jersey State Health Assessment Data (NJSHAD) system.
Uniqueness of data
Much of the information collected by NJBRFS is not available elsewhere. In other words, there are no other measurement tools that capture information on health care topics, such as the prevalence of diabetes, childhood asthma, and cancer pain management. This fact makes NJBRFS an invaluable tool for legislators, researchers, scientists, and other health professionals who use this information to advance science, mental health, and health care, and to improve existing programs or develop new ones. You play a crucial role in this effort.
The annual New Jersey Behavioral Risk Factor Survey (NJBRFS) is designed to assess the health-related risk behaviors, chronic health conditions, and use of preventive services among New Jersey residents. The survey instrument is a localized version of the CDC national Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey instrument and is comprised of three components:
- Core component - consists of the fixed core, rotating core, and emerging issues questions which are required of all BRFSS-funded sites.
- Fixed Core Questions - a standard set of questions asked annually by all states which includes questions on demographic characteristics, plus questions about current health behaviors such as tobacco use.
- Rotating Core - a distinct set of questions on various topics from oral health to colorectal cancer screening which are asked in either 2, 3 or 4-year cycles.
- Emerging Issues – questions which focus on "late breaking" health-related issues.
- Optional modules - consist of questions on various topics ranging from oral health to colorectal cancer screening. In the years in which these modules are not included in the Core survey, they are optional.
- State-added questions - consist of locally developed questions based on new or ongoing program or policy initiatives at the New Jersey Department of Health.
The generic BRFSS questionnaire is designed by a working group of state BRFSS coordinators and CDC staff.
The questionnaire is updated on an annual basis and finalized after the proposed content is reviewed and voted on by the New Jersey Behavioral Risk Factor Survey Advisory Committee and approved by CDC.
Asthma Call Back Survey
The Asthma Call Back Survey (ACBS) is a separately funded CDC initiative, which has been conducted by the New Jersey Department of Health as a sub-component of the NJBRFS since 2005. Its focus is to collect detailed information on the prevalence and management of asthma among adults and adolescents in New Jersey. The supplemental survey is offered to persons responding to NJBRFS who report that either they or an adolescent in the household has been diagnosed with asthma. The ACBS interview is conducted either immediately after the NJBRFS interview or within two weeks of the original interview.
The content of the Asthma Call Back Survey can be viewed by accessing the annual NJBRFS questionnaire. (See drop-down below.) Findings from the ACBS are available in NJSHAD.
NJBRFS Question Search Tool
The Question Search Tool is an interactive platform that allows users to locate specific questions in the survey by topic, year, keyword(s), broad categories, or content status. This tool contains questions used in the NJBRFS dating from 2001 to the current year.
View/Download the NJBRFS Questionnaire (Year 2000 to current)Select a year below.
No data collected for 2019.
- NJBRFS Custom Data Query (NJSHAD)
Create customized tables of prevalence estimates derived from the New Jersey Behavioral Risk Factor Survey (NJBRFS) for selected risk factors and health conditions. Cross-classification variables include age, sex, race or ethnicity, birthplace, marital status, education, employment status, and location of residence, as well as other corresponding risk factors and health conditions.
- BRFSS Prevalence & Trends Data (CDC)
Find state-specific prevalence estimates and trends derived from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) for selected risk factors and health conditions, stratified by age, sex, race/ethnicity, income, and education for 1995 and later years. Other federal sites providing statistics derived from the BRFSS at the state level can be located by searching HealthData.gov.
- BRFSS Data and Documentation (CDC)
Find record level data from the NJBRFS and New Jersey Asthma Call Back Supplement (NJACBS) that meet CDC’s standard for “public use” and are derived from the aggregated data files posted on the BRFSS web site.
NJBRFS (Restricted Use) Data Files and Documentation
New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH) policy requires that all requests for record-level data derived directly from the NJBRFS or the NJACBS be submitted through NJDOH’s Data Request Tracking System located at https://healthapps.mwg.state.nj.us/datarequest/default.aspx. Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval must also be obtained through the current NJDOH IRB of record at Rowan University.
NOTE: NJDOH personnel conducting disease surveillance are subject to a Data Use Agreement external to the Data Request Tracking System referenced above. Please contact a member of the NJBRFS team at (609) 984-6703 or via email.
- The NJ State Health Assessment Data (NJSHAD) system, maintained by the Center for Health Statistics and Informatics (CHS), provides on-demand access to public health datasets, statistics, and information on the health status of New Jerseyans.
- NJBRFS Health Indicator Profiles are reports on health status indicators containing graphs, data tables, maps, and explanatory information.
- NJBRFS Custom Data Query allows the user to create customized tables of NJBRFS prevalence estimates for selected risk factors. Cross-classification variables include age, sex, race or ethnicity, birthplace, marital status, education, employment status, and location.
- Healthy New Jersey (HNJ) is the overarching initiative that focuses on identifying and addressing the priority health needs of New Jersey residents.
- This is accomplished using two ongoing statewide collaborative processes coordinated by the New Jersey Department of Health (NJDOH): the State Health Assessment and the State Health Improvement Plan.
- HNJ consists of specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-bound (SMART) objectives organized into topic areas designed to serve as the framework for addressing the underlying, contributing factors of health inequities and to improve health and well-being of all people. HNJ is modeled after the national Healthy People initiative.
- Chronic Disease-Specific Reports
- Alcohol and Public Health
- Alcohol-Related Disease Impact
- Asthma Surveillance Data
- Cancer Profiles (CDC/NCI)
- Cardiovascular Disease Surveillance System
- Chronic Disease Indicators (CDC/CSTE/NACDD)
- Diabetes Report Card
- Diabetes Surveillance System
- Disability and Health Data System
- Health-Related Quality of Life
- Interactive Atlas of Heart Disease and Stroke
- Mental Health
- Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity
- Oral Health Surveillance System
All the above are Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sites unless otherwise noted.