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

2003 West Virginia Behavioral Risk Factor Survey Report

This report is presented in PDF format. For speed of downloading, the report has been separated into the various sections. Links to the different sections (pdf) of the report are in the left column. Blank pages have also been deleted before posting to the web. The "Executive Summary" is presented below in standard web format with topic heading, such as "Health Status" as links to the pdf section of the report. These pdf sections open in a new window, so this page remains open for review.

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 2003 as well as county data for the combined years 1999 through 2003.

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 three 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

Diabetes Awareness

Obesity and Overweight

Weight Control

Physical Inactivity


Tobacco Use and Policies (Current Smoking, Smokeless Tobacco Use, Other Tobacco Indicators)

Alcohol Consumption



Cardiovascular Disease



Disability and Falls


Sexually Transmitted Diseases



Table I below shows selected risk factor rates and the corresponding numbers of persons in West Virginia who are at risk. Table II shows the postcensal population estimates for 2003 that were obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau and used to derive the numbers of persons at risk. A more exhaustive examination of these and other topics can be found in the body of the report.

Table I: Percentage and estimated number of persons at risk due to selected factors (ages 18 and older unless otherwise specified): WVBRFSS, 2003

Risk factor Estimated percentage at riska Estimated number at riska
Self-rated general health is fair or poor25.3359,891
No health care coverage, ages 18-6423.5269,096
Obesity (BMI 30.0+)27.7 394,031
Overweight (BMI 25.0-29.9)34.0483,649
Trying to lose weight38.9553,351
No leisure-time exercise28.0398,299
Less than 5 servings of fruits/vegetables per day81.31,156,490
Current smoking27.3388,341
Current smokeless tobacco use7.7109,532
Heavy drinking3.144,097
Binge drinking11.1157,897
High blood cholesterol (among those ever checked)38.1541,971
High blood pressure33.6477,959
Have had heart attack7.4105,264
Have angina or coronary heart disease8.7123,757
Have had stroke4.259,744
Lifetime asthma11.8167,854
Current asthma8.1115,222
Experienced a fall in past three months, ages 45+16.0122,795
No flu shot in past 12 months, ages 65+30.9114,124
Never had pneumonia shot, ages 65+36.2133,698
Ever had HIV test that was not part of a blood donation, ages 18-6438.2437,425
Sunburn with redness lasting 12 or more hours in past 12 months38.1541,971

a. Prevalence rates and number of persons at risk are subject to sampling error. Please refer to the confidence intervals presented in the chapters of this report. Calculating the number at risk using the CDC’s population weight provided in the data may result in different estimates.

Table II: West Virginia 2003 estimated population by age group used in calculating Table I figures.

Age Both Male Female
All Ages1,811,440884,374927,066

Source: Population Division, U.S. Census Bureau. http://www.census.gov/popest/states/asrh/SC-est2004-02.html. Retrieved in March 2005.

This report was posted to the WEB in October 2005.
The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) is funding by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For information about the WV Behavioral Risk Factor Survey, contact Paul.F.King@wv.gov 304 - 558-9100.