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Welcome NHANES Participants

What does participation involve?

YOU are eligible to participate! First, your NHANES interviewer will make an appointment with you to complete your household questionnaire.


Household Questionnaire

  • Family Questionnaire collects information on topics, such as:
    • Occupation;
    • Smoking;
    • Demographics; and
    • Food consumption.
  • Sample Person questionnaire collects information on topics, such as:
    • Health insurance;
    • Medical history;
    • Dietary behavior; and
    • Weight history.


Next, you will have a free health examination in our mobile examination center (MEC).


MEC Examination

The health exam will take place in our local MEC, which is a group of trailers set up in a location with easy access for all participants. The exams that you and your family will receive will be based on age and gender. Exams include:

  • Blood pressure testing;
  • Height and weight measurements;
  • Oral health screening with dentist;
  • Laboratory testing on blood and urine; and
  • With your consent, collection of blood and urine samples to have stored.

For a detailed list of MEC exams by survey cycle, see the Health Measurements list [PDF – 297 KB]



Frequently Asked Questions from Our Participants

Is my information confidential?

Public laws keep all information participants give confidential. We will hold all data we collect in the strictest confidence. We gather and protect all information in keeping with the requirements of Federal Law: the Public Health Service Act (42 USC 242k) authorizes collection and Section 308(d) of that law (42 USC 242m), the Privacy Act of 1974 (5 USC 552A), and the Confidential Information Protection and Statistical Efficiency Act (PL 107-347) prohibit us from giving out information that identifies you or your family without your consent.

This means that we cannot give out any fact about you, even if a court of law asks for it.

We will keep all survey data safe and secure. When we allow researchers to use survey data, we protect your privacy. We assign code numbers in place of names or other facts that could identify you.

What are the benefits of participating?

Examination – Many of the measurements and tests performed in the Mobile Exam Center are unique, and they are not commonly done in doctor’s offices during routine physical exams.

This is a chance for you to have many important tests and gain additional health information about yourself. These tests are done at no expense to you. Your interviewer will provide you with a complete list of the exams you qualify for.

**This exam is not a substitute for your regular health care examination.

Report of Findings – You will receive results from your examination. You will get a preliminary report of findings when you leave the mobile exam center. Some results, like those for sexually transmitted disease (STD) tests are not put in writing but you will be given a toll-free number, a password, and the date to call for your results.

A final report of findings will be sent to you in the mail 12-16 weeks after your exam. These results are yours to discuss with your doctor or keep for your own medical records.

A token of thanks for your time and effort – All participants, regardless of age, are given a cash payment as a “thank-you” for their time and effort. NHANES will also pay back participants for transportation and baby/elder care.

If I consent to have my blood and urine samples stored, what do you do with them?

There are two consent forms for participants – one for specimen storage and continuing studies, and one for specimen storage and continuing studies using DNA.

If you signed one or both forms, you can click the links below for the appropriate type of sample and year you participated in to see summaries of research studies that used these samples.

Specimen storage and continuing studies:

What studies on serum, plasma, and urine were done if I was examined between 1999-present?

Specimen storage and continuing studies using DNA:

What studies using DNA were done if I was examined between 1988-1994, 1999-2002, or 2007-2012?

More information on the NHANES biospecimen program is available HERE.

Who can I contact if I have questions?

To discuss the survey or to speak to our Senior Medical Officer about your results, call us at 1-800-452-6115. If you have questions about your rights as a survey participant, call the Research Ethics Review Board at the National Center for Health Statistics at 1-800-223-8118. Leave a brief message containing your name, phone number, and your NHANES concerns. Your call will be returned as soon as possible.

If you have questions about your check or debit card from participating in post-exams, call 1-888-458-4762. Leave your name or SP ID and a message with call back information. Calls are returned within 24 hours.