This module provides an overview of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) by briefly describing the surveys history, methodology, and uses of the data.
Since 1959, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) has been continuously monitoring the health status of the US population through a nationally representative survey utilizing health interview and physical examination data. The populations surveyed and questionnaire topics have evolved over time to accommodate a variety of public health and research priorities.
The NHANES program is unique in that it combines interviews with physical examinations and laboratory studies. NHANES adopted these three data collection modes to maximize the efficiency, quality, and accuracy of data collected.
The US Public Health Service, other federal agencies, and a wide range of researchers are major users of NHANES data. These data have been central to the formulation of public health policy and practice.