NHANES II data files are in ASCII format and are saved in self-extracting zipped files (.exe). First you must extract the data from the zipped file to create the ASCII format file (.txt). The data were originally released in ASCII format. In order to facilitate the conversion of these ASCII files to SAS datasets, SAS programs have been provided. The programs contain the code needed to read in the data, label the variables and create a SAS dataset. For most data files two SAS programs are provided, one is labeled "SAS code" and contains code needed to read in the data and the other is labeled "Formatted SAS code" and contains code needed to read in the data and to label the values of categorical variables. In most cases you will find it helpful to have values labeled for the categorical variables and thus you will want to use the program labeled "Formatted SAS code" to create your permanent SAS dataset.
The steps to download the data and related documentation are similar to the steps presented in the Locate Variables module. However, now that you've completed researching your variables and know which ones you are going to include in your dataset, you only need to download the documentation for the data files you plan to include in your analysis.