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Announcement: NHANES 50th Anniversary and Conference

The 50th anniversary of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) will be celebrated on September 29, 2009, at a conference at the National Center for Health Statistics in Hyattsville, Maryland. Collaborating agencies, data users, and program and field staff members will share their perspectives on the survey.

NHANES began in 1959 as the National Health Examination Survey. NHANES data come from household interviews and standardized examinations and laboratory testing of a sample of the nation's civilian, noninstitutionalized population. NHANES has expanded since the survey's inception to include a nutritional component now conducted in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and measures of environmental exposure with the National Center for Environmental Health.

NHANES has long been a primary source of data on the nation's health. NHANES findings were used to set the goals and track the progress in reducing cholesterol levels, the prevalence of high blood pressure, and the risks of blood lead exposure in the United States. NHANES documented the rise in obesity and diabetes and produced the first population-based estimates of human immunodeficiency virus infection and osteoporosis. NHANES data also are used for the growth charts by which pediatricians and parents check children's growth and development.

A hallmark of NHANES is its partnerships with other CDC programs, the National Institutes of Health, other U.S. Department of Health and Human Services programs, and other government agencies to collect data needed for public health policies and practice. Additional information about the NHANES 50th anniversary is available at

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Date last reviewed: 9/24/2009


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