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

2004-2005 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 years 2004 and 2005 as well as county data combined for the latest available five years (typically 2001 through 2005).

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

Current Smoking, Smokeless Tobacco Use, Other Tobacco Indicators

Alcohol Consumption




Cardiovascular Disease

Cancer Screening




Emotional Support and Life Satisfaction


Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Family Planning

Oral Health




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, 2004-2005

Risk factor Year Estimated
at riska
at riska
Self-rated general health is fair or poor 2005 24.7 352,900
No health care coverage, ages 18-64 2005 22.2 253,100
Unable to afford needed medical care 2005 18.5 264,700
No personal doctor or health care provider 2005 22.4 320,100
No leisure-time exercise 2005 28.5 407,800
Fewer than 5 servings of fruit/vegetables per day 2005 80.0 1,135,100
Obesity (BMI 30.0+) 2005 30.6 425,600
Overweight (BMI 25.0-29.9) 2005 34.8 484,000
Current cigarette smoking 2005 26.7 380,700
Current smokeless tobacco use 2004 8.1 114,200
Binge drinking 2005 9.1 128,800
Heavy drinking 2005 3.1 44,100
Diabetes 2005 10.4 149,100
High blood pressure 2005 31.4 448,800
High blood cholesterol (among those ever checked) 2005 39.9 438,100
Have had heart attack 2005 7.0 99,300
Have angina or coronary heart disease 2005 8.2 117,000
Have had stroke 2005 3.4 48,000
No home stool blood test in past 2 years, ages 50+ 2004 72.8 451,800
Never had sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy, ages 50+ 2004 53.7 336,500
Never had digital rectal exam, men ages 40+ 2004 29.7 124,700
Never had Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test, men ages 40+ 2004 40.3 163,300
No clinical breast exam in past 1 year, women ages 40+ 2004 35.8 169,400
No mammogram in past 2 years, women ages 40+ 2004 27.5 132,100
No Pap test in past 3 years, women ages 18+ 2004 17.4 94,500
Never had Pap test, women ages 18+ 2004 5.4 39,600
Lifetime asthma 2005 13.4 191,100
Current asthma 2005 9.2 131,100
Arthritis 2005 34.9 494,100
Disability 2005 27.4 391,100
No flu immunization in past 12 months, ages 65+ 2005 36.2 103,000
Never had pneumonia shot, ages 65+ 2005 31.8 87,700
No professional dental cleaning in past year (among those with teeth) 2004 36.0 433,800
6 or more teeth removed due to tooth decay or gum disease 2004 31.9 451,500
All teeth removed, ages 65+ 2004 42.9 118,900
Sunburn with redness lasting 12 or more hours in past 12 months 2004 35.1 499,400
Loaded and unlocked firearms in home 2004 6.2 84,000

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.


Two Years of Data

For the first time since 1986-1987, the BRFSS report includes two years of data – 2004 and 2005. Note that some data were not collected in both years of the survey.

First-Time Data

Type of health care coverage, including PEIA (
Chapter 2)
Doctor advice and related actions taken to reduce hypertension risks (Chapter 11)
Adult asthma symptoms, prescription use, and health care utilization (Chapter 17)
Child asthma prevalence (Chapter 17)
Illness due to poor indoor and outdoor air (Chapter 17)
Life satisfaction and emotional support (Chapter 20)
Child influenza immunization (Chapter 21)
STD high-risk behavior (Chapter 22)
Family planning (Chapter 23)
Comorbidities – the presence of multiple risk factors and health conditions (Chapter 27)

New County Maps and Appendix

County prevalence estimates are now compared to the overall West Virginia prevalence rather than the United States prevalence. See Methodology and Appendix L for additional information.

New Methods to Determine Reliability of Estimates

All estimates were judged on three reliability criteria. Estimates meeting any of these criteria were noted as unreliable. Be cautious in reporting and interpreting these estimates. See Methodology for additional discussion.

The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) is funded by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This report was posted to the WEB in July 03, 2007.

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