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Dataset: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)

Basic Information
Dataset full name: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
Dataset acronym NHANES
Summary The National Center for Health Statistics conducts the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to measure health parameters and the nutritional status of a nationally representitive sample of adults and children in the United States. It combines both survey and physical examination data that are conducted and collected at mobile examination centers (MEC) that travel to selected sites throughout the country. The MEC consist of four large trailers that contain all of the diagnostic equipment and personnel necessary to conduct a wide range of both physical and biochemical evaluations. Interviews and physical examinations are conducted to collect the health information. The NHANES interview includes demographic, socioeconomic, dietary, and health-related questions. The examination component consists of medical, dental, and physiological measurements (height, weight, and blood pressure), as well as laboratory tests.
Key Terms Nutrition, CDC, Prevalence, Children, Health, Survey, National
Study Design Longitudinal
Data Type(s) Clinical
Sponsoring Agency/Entity Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)###National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS)
Health conditions/Disability measures
Health condition(s)
Disability Measures Ambulatory disability, Cognitive disability, Developmental disabilities, Functional limitations (ADLs and/or IADLs), Hearing disability, Independent living disability, Intellectual disability, Mental health disability, Physical disability, Self-care disability, Special equipment use/assistive technology, Visual disability, Work limitation
Measures/outcomes of interest
Topics Nutritional assessment component: dietary intake, nutrition-related information, anthropometric data, and hematological examination. ###Physical examination data: blood samples, and detailed questions regarding demographics, physiological measurements, reproductive health and dental examination.###Risk factor data: smoking, alcohol consumption, sexual practices, drug use, physical fitness and physical activities, weight, heredity factors, environmental exposure.
Sample Population A multi-stage probability sample of non-institutionalized individuals in the United States
Sample Size/Notes 2013-2014: 14,332 screened; 10,175 interviewed; 9,813 examined
Unit of Observation Individual
Geographic Coverage National
Geographic specificity National
Data Collection
Data Collection Mode Health interviews are conducted in participants’ homes. ###Health measurements are performed in specially-designed and equipped mobile centers. The study team consists of a physician, medical and health technicians, as well as dietary and health interviewer
Years Collected NHANES I: 1971-1975###NHANES II: 1976–1980###NHANES III: 1988–1994###NHANES 1999-2000, 2001-2002, 2003-2004, 2005-2006, 2007-2008, 2009-2010, 2011-2012, 2013-2014, 2015-2016, 2017-2018, and beyond
Data Collection Frequency Annual (1999-present)
Strengths and limitations
Strengths Sample designed to be representitive of the U.S. population of all ages. To produce reliable estimates, the NHANES over-samples persons 60 and older and minority population including African Americans and Hispanics. ###Comprehensive test results and measurements including respiratory health, bone health, visual, and hearing exams. Provides data for estimates of previously undiagnosed conditions.###Data can be used to determine the national standards for various physiological measurements including height, weight, and blood pressure. ###Data can be used to determine the prevalence of major diseases and associated risk factors for diseases including environmental exposures.
Limitations No participant follow-up. Some NHANES data elements are limited access, or restricted data (<a href=""></a>). Restricted data require an application to access at a NCHS Research Data Center (<a href=""></a>). Sample does not include people working in U.S. armed forces or those staying outside of the country.
Data details
Primary Website
Data Access
Data Access Requirements Public Use Dataset###Data use agreement, No cost (limited access datasets)
Summary Tables/reports
Selected papers
Technical NHANES tutorials:###
Other Papers NHANES selected bibliography 1999-present:###

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