|The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) today announced the release of the state’s 2008 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Systems (BRFSS) data, a national survey conducted in all states now considered the world’s largest, ongoing telephone health survey system.
Among other things, the survey found that in 2008 vast numbers of Kentuckians continue to categorize themselves as unhealthy and leading unhealthy lifestyles. The BRFSS, which is conducted by the Division of Prevention and Quality Improvement in DPH, looks at numerous health indicators, such as diet and physical activity, to determine the health and lifestyle habits of Kentuckians.
“The BRFSS is a wonderful tool that allows us to paint a portrait of our state’s health status,” said William Hacker, M.D., DPH commissioner. “Each year, we use information from this survey to learn more about health risk behaviors, shape recommendations for preventive health practices, and determine to what extent Kentuckians have access to care, particularly for chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.”
The BRFSS program tracks health conditions and risk behaviors of adults 18 and older in the U.S. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established the survey in 1984.
The Kentucky BRFSS is the main source of non-reportable disease data in Kentucky broken down by demographics like gender, race, age group, income levels, education status and geographic areas like Area Development Districts.
In 2008, Kentucky adults 18 years and older reported a 20.3 percent prevalence of fair or poor general health. In general, residents of Kentucky’s Appalachian counties reported higher rates of poor health and chronic diseases than those in non-Appalachian counties. In addition, Kentuckians with a high school degree or less and those with lower income levels reported higher rates of poor health and chronic diseases. In terms of health care access, the BRFSS data found that 14.4 percent of Kentuckians 18 years and older reported lack of health care coverage in 2008. Lack of health care access is highest among residents of Appalachia with 20 percent prevalence, men with 15.3 percent prevalence, and those ages 18-24 with 29.8 percent prevalence. Furthermore, those with less than a high school education and those earning less than $15,000 per year reported 25.6 percent and 30.8 percent prevalence of lack of health care coverage respectively.
Here’s a look at some other findings from the survey:
− 30.4 percent of Kentucky adults reported that they did not participate in any physical activities or exercise such as running, golf, gardening or walking for exercise other than their regular jobs.
− 9.6 percent of Kentuckians reported that they had been told by a doctor that they currently had asthma.
− 66.8 percent of Kentuckians are overweight or obese (have a Body Mass Index of 25 or greater).
− 30.2 percent of Kentuckians are obese (have a Body Mass Index of 30.0 or greater).
− Kentucky adults reported some of the highest prevalence of chronic diseases in the nation, such as diabetes, stroke and heart disease.
− 9.8 percent of Kentucky adults reported being told by a doctor that they had diabetes (not including women who were told they had diabetes when they were pregnant).
− 5.8 percent of Kentuckians reported that they had been told by a doctor that they had coronary heart disease.
- 5.4 percent of Kentuckians reported that they had been told by a doctor that they had suffered a heart attack.
− 3.5 percent of Kentuckians reported being told by a doctor that they had suffered a stroke.
− 25.2 percent of Kentuckians reported having smoked at least 100 cigarettes in their entire lifetime and now smoke some days or every day.