How to Download Data and Identify Supporting Documentation

Download SAS Transport Files

An NHANES analysis focusing solely on physical activity monitor measurements will include SAS transport files from 2 data categories:

  • Demographic Data
  • Examination Data
    • PAXRAW – Physical Activity Monitor Examination File

Demographic data are linked to the physical activity monitor data by a common identifier, SEQN – the study participant’s identification number.

To build the “PAXMSTR” dataset for our sample SAS program, you will need to download demographic and physical activity monitor files from the 2003-2004 and 2005-2006 cycles. Remember that when creating a dataset for your own analysis, you need download only the data files relevant to that analysis.

From the NHANES homepage to the right: http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes.htm

  • Click Questionnaires, Data Sets, and Related Documentation. From this page, click NHANES 2003-2004.
  • Scroll down the page and click the Demographics link in the “Data, Documentation, Codebooks, SAS Code” section.  Locate “Demographics Data, Docs, Questionnaire”.  Right-click the Data link and select “Save Target As” to download and save the SAS transport file titled DEMO_C.
  • Save the DEMO_C transport file to the C:\NHANES\DOWNLOAD directory created in Task 2, Step 1.

Note that file names for NHANES data include a single letter suffix, used to indicate the 2-year cycle in which the data were collected.

NHANES Data File Naming Structure
NHANES Data File Suffix NHANES Cycle
A 1999 to 2000
B

2001 to 2002
C

2003 to 2004
D

2005 to 2006
E

2007 to 2008
F

2009 to 2010
  • Return to the NHANES 2003-2004 data page through the Questionnaires, Data Sets, and Related Documentation link located in the toolbar on the left.
  • Scroll down the NHANES 2003-2004 page and click the Examination link in the “Data, Documentation, Codebooks, SAS Code” section.  Scroll down to the “Physical Activity Monitor” items and right-click the Data link to download the executable file titled PAXRAW_C by selecting “Save Target As”.  You will need to “Unzip” the executable file to gain access to the PAXRAW SAS transport file.
  • Save the PAXRAW_C transport file to the C:\NHANES\DOWNLOAD directory created in Task 2, Step 1.
  • Repeat steps 1 through 6 to download and save the demographic (DEMO) and physical activity monitor (PAXRAW) files from the NHANES 2005-2006 cycle.

Bookmark the Data Documentation, Codebook, and Frequencies

Each NHANES dataset has accompanying documentation titled “Documentation, Codebook, and Frequencies” that you will need to refer to as you build your analytic dataset. This information is stored in an HTML file. To download the “Documentation, Codebook, and Frequencies” for the PAX dataset:

  • On the NHANES 2003-2004 homepage, right-click the Docs link located next to the PAXRAW dataset.  Choose “Save Target As” to download (not open) the “Documentation, Codebook, and Frequencies” to the C:\NHANES\DOWNLOAD folder. 
  • Repeat step 9 to download documentation from the NHANES 2005-2006 cycle for the PAXRAW file.