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Technical Notes

Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System

The Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System (RRFSS) is an ongoing telephone survey of adults that collects information about health knowledge, attitudes and behaviours of Durham Region residents. The information is used to support the planning and evaluation of public health programs and services.

The Institute for Social Research at York University conducts the survey on behalf of Ontario public health units. We routinely survey Durham Region residents aged 18 and over who live in private households. The first survey took place in 2001. In 2016, RRFSS began interviewing Durham residents using cell phone numbers in addition to landline telephone numbers. The annual response rate for Durham Region ranged from 25% to 61% and was 25% in 2017.

Analysis Notes

Analyses were conducted using SAS software version 9.4. Percentages are expressed as a point estimate with 95% confidence intervals (CI) around the estimate. This indicates the range that the true or actual percentage falls within 95 out of 100 times. In charts, the 95% CI is represented by an error bar.

Data Release Guidelines

If the unweighted numerator of an estimate is less than 5 respondents or if the unweighted denominator of an estimate is less than 30 respondents, then the estimate must be suppressed. In addition, if the coefficient of variation (CV) for an estimate is between 16.6% and 33.2%, inclusive, the estimate will have a note beside the chart indicating to “interpret with caution due to high variability”. If the CV is 33.3% or greater, the estimate will have a note beside the chart indicating it is not releasable.

Age Spread

Indicators are presented by the age of survey respondents in the following age groups for indicators where we had a sufficient sample size: 18-24 years, 25-44 years, 45-64 years, and 65+.

Gender Gap

Indicators are presented by gender, where the survey interviewer identifies gender of the respondent as opposed to gender being self-reported.

Income Divide

Indicators are analysed by household income level in this section. Income level is calculated based on self-reported household income, and takes into consideration the number of individuals living in the household. Household income was missing for approximately 25% of survey respondents in 2017. This non-response may introduce bias into the survey estimates.


Indicators are presented by municipality in which the survey respondent resides. Note that due to a small number of survey respondents from Uxbridge, Scugog and Brock, respondents living in these municipalities are combined and presented as “North Durham Region”.

Select indicators are presented by year that the survey data was collected. Indicators are only presented where data was available for a consecutive number of years.

More Information

For more information, or if you require this information in an accessible format, please contact the Durham Health Connection Line at 905-666-6241 or 1-800-841-2729. You can also visit our Durham Region Health Department website.

For information about RRFSS, visit the RRFSS website.