West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources
Bureau for Public Health

2006 West Virginia Behavioral Risk Factor Survey Report

Executive Summary

Cover of Report

Each year since 1984, the West Virginia Behavioral Risk Factor Survey has measured a range of risk factors that can affect our health. This report presents state survey results for the year 2006 and county data combined for 2002 through 2006.

The survey is conducted by telephone and represents a collaborative effort between the West Virginia Bureau for Public Health (WVBPH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. Standardized survey methods are provided by CDC. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and several U.S. territories now participate in the system, known as the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).

The information in this document serves as a resource for governments, business leaders, schools, and community groups, all of which are helping to shape the health of West Virginia.


Health Status

Health Care Access

Physical Inactivity


Obesity and Overweight

Tobacco Use and Policies


Alcohol Consumption

Cardiovascular Disease


Table I below shows selected risk factor rates and the corresponding numbers of West Virginians who are estimated to be at risk. Data are shown for the latest available year.

Table I: Percentage and number of persons estimated at risk due to selected risk factors (among adults aged 18 and older or appropriate subset): WVBRFSS, 2006

Risk factor Year Percentage
at riska
at riska
Self-rated general health is fair or poor 2006 22.5 323,000
No health care coverage, ages 18-64 2006 18.9 217,000
Unable to afford needed medical care 2006 17.2 247,000
No personal doctor or health care provider 2006 20.3 292,000
No leisure-time exercise 2006 25.6 368,000
Obesity (BMI 30.0+) 2006 31.0 433,000
Overweight (BMI 25.0-29.9) 2006 36.0 501,000
Current cigarette smoking 2006 25.7 370,000
Binge drinking 2006 11.1 158,000
Heavy drinking 2006 3.2 45,000
Diabetes 2006 12.1 174,000
Have had heart attack 2006 7.5 107,000
Have angina or coronary heart disease 2006 8.3 119,000
Have had stroke 2006 4.2 60,000
Lifetime asthma 2006 11.9 171,000
Current asthma 2006 8.6 123,000

a. The percentages and numbers of persons estimated to be at risk are subject to sampling error. Please refer to the confidence intervals presented in the chapters of this report for a more complete perspective. In addition, the risk estimates were derived from population estimates available at the end of the data collection period. Later estimates of the same population may result in different estimated numbers of persons at risk.


Risk Factors

A risk factor is a health-related behavior or practice that has been shown to increase the probability of developing a condition or disease. This report presents West Virginia prevalences for selected risk factors.


Prevalence is the percentage of the population having a particular condition or characteristic or practicing a certain health-related behavior. This report presents the results of the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) in West Virginia as a series of "prevalence" estimates for selected risk factors. Prevalence is also referred to as rate or frequency.

Confidence Intervals

Confidence intervals (CIs) reflect sampling error. They are presented as upper and lower boundary values surrounding the prevalence estimate; the true value of the estimate can be expected to fall within this range with a confidence of 95%.


Significant is the term used to describe prevalence estimates that have been tested and found to be statistically different. In this report, a difference is said to be significant when the 95% confidence intervals (CIs) associated with each of the prevalence estimates do not overlap. In other words, it can be stated with 95% certainty that the difference found between the two prevalence estimates is not a random occurrence. Identifying differences as "significant" can detect changes in prevalence over time and direct attention to characteristics associated with a particular health condition or risk behavior. In this report, adjectives such as slight, minor, and little may be used to describe less reliable differences, those for which the confidence intervals do overlap. See Methodology for additional discussion.

This report was posted to the WEB in March 17, 2009.

For information about the WV Behavioral Risk Factor Survey, email Paul.F.King@wv.gov.

For problems or questions concerning the WEB page navigation, contact Tom Leonard at: dhhrvitalreg@wv.gov