National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)

Study Overview


The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) is a program of studies designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States. The survey is unique in that it combines interviews and physical examinations. The NHANES interview includes demographic, socioeconomic, dietary, and health-related questions. The examination component consists of medical, dental, and physiological measurements, as well as laboratory tests administered by highly trained medical personnel. Findings from this survey are used to determine the prevalence of major diseases and risk factors for diseases, as well as to assess nutritional status and its association with health promotion and disease prevention. NHANES findings are also the basis for national standards for such measurements as height, weight, and blood pressure.

Risk factors, those aspects of a person's lifestyle, constitution, heredity, or environment that may increase the chances of developing a certain disease or condition, are examined by the NHANES. In particular, smoking, alcohol consumption, sexual practices, drug use, physical fitness and activity, weight, and dietary intake are studied. Data on certain aspects of reproductive health, such as use of oral contraceptives and breastfeeding practices, are also collected. The diseases, medical conditions, and health indicators studied include: anemia, cardovascular disease, diabetes, environmental exposures, eye diseases, hearing loss, infectious diseases, kidney disease, nutrition, obesity, oral health, osteoporosis, physical fitness and functioning, reproductive history and sexual behavior, respiratory disease (asthma, chronic bronchitis, emphysema), sexually transmitted diseases, and vision. Health interviews are conducted in respondents' homes by a study team consisting of a physician, medical and health technicians, as well as dietary and health interviewers.

Study Author(s): 
Sampling Procedures: 

The study uses a complex, multistage probability sampling design. The four stages are: U.S. counties (PSU) -> segments (e.g., city blocks) -> households -> individuals. African American, Mexican American, low SES European American, Adolescents, and older (60+) individuals were oversampled.

Contact and Data Access

1. I will use the dataset solely for statistical analysis and reporting of aggregated information and not for investigation of a specific individual or organization. 2. I will produce no links among the Distributors' datasets or among the Distributor's data and other datasets that could identify individuals or organizations. 3. I represent neither I, nor anyone I know, has any prior knowledge of the possible identification of any study participants in any dataset that I am being licensed to use. 4. I will not knowingly divulge any information that could be used to identify individual participants in the study, nor will I attempt to identify or contact any study participant and I agree to use any precautions necessary to prevent such identification. 5. I will not reproduce the dataset except as it is necessary for scholarly purposes. I will destroy the dataset upon completion of my scholarly work with it. 6. I will not share data from the dataset (in any form or by any means) with any third party, as I understand that all users of the data must obtain it directly from the distributor. 7. I will make appropriate acknowledgement of the contributor and distributor of the dataset in any manuscript or publication. 8. The distributor makes no warranties, express or implied, by operation of law or otherwise regarding or relating to the dataset.
The original collector of the data, SSRI, and the relevant funding agencies, bear no responsibility for the use of the data or for interpretations and inferences based upon such users.

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