31% Of Kansans Have Hypertension, 36% Without Dental Insurance

From the Kansas Department Of Health & Environment:

TOPEKA, Kan. – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) recently released results from the 2011 Kansas Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS). BRFSS is the world’s largest, annual population–based telephone survey system, tracking health conditions and risk behaviors in the U.S. It is coordinated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and is conducted in every state and several territories.

BRFSS provides data on a wide range of health issues including information related to access to health care, chronic and infectious diseases, clinical preventive services, environmental quality, infant and child health, injury and violence, maternal health, mental health, nutrition, physical activity, obesity, oral health, reproductive and sexual health, substance abuse and tobacco.

“BRFSS data help us measure Kansans’ health behaviors, conditions and concerns,” said Robert Moser, M.D., KDHE Secretary and State Health Officer. “These data are important when we consider where to focus our public health efforts and to help us emphasize the benefits of prevention.”

The following are some of the Kansas 2011 BRFSS data highlights for adults 18 years old and older:

· 80.6% of Kansas adults use safety belts

· 36.3% of Kansas adults do not have dental insurance

· 30.8% of Kansas adults have hypertension (high blood pressure)

· 29.6% of Kansas adults are obese

· 22% of Kansas adults smoke cigarettes

· 9.5% of Kansas adults have diabetes

The CDC made major methodological changes to the way the data were collected and analyzed for the 2011 BRFSS, which prevents comparison of 2011 data to previous years. BRFSS has traditionally used random-digit-dial telephone sampling of households with landline telephones. Because more and more telephone users are switching to cell phones from regular landline telephones, BRFSS expanded its landline-based survey to include cell phone numbers. Additionally, the BRFSS survey now uses a new weighting method, called Raking, to adjust for more socio-demographic factors and to adjust for this change in the sampling method.

The new methodology adjusts for changes in the use of cell phone service in Kansas and thereby provides prevalence estimates more representative of the Kansas adult population, especially in risk behaviors common to younger adults and to certain racial or ethnic minority groups. Comparisons cannot be made between the prevalence estimates for previous years and those for 2011.

BRFSS is conducted by KDHE’s Bureau of Health Promotion, which works to promote healthy behaviors and environmental changes that improve quality of life and prevent chronic disease, injury and premature death. For additional information on the Bureau of Health Promotion visit www.kdhdks.gov/bhp, and for more information on BRFSS visit www.kdheks.gov/bhp/HealthRiskStudies.