Surveillance Systems

A surveillance system is a series of surveys conducted again and again to monitor long-term trends in public health. Several surveys are used to examine Americans’ weight status and factors that influence it. These surveys are conducted across several years to compare health among groups of people, and determine whether something is improving or worsening for specific groups.

Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity


  • School Health Policies and Programs Study
    The School Health Policies and Programs Study is a national survey periodically conducted to assess school health policies and practices at the state, district, school, and classroom levels. This includes nutrition services, education, and policies.
  • School Health Profiles
    The School Health Profiles is a system of surveys assessing school health policies and practices in states, large urban school districts and territories. This includes school health education requirements, nutrition and dietary behavior topics and school health policies and practices related to nutrition and other topics.

Physical Activity

  • Physical Activity Surveys
    Several national surveys track physical activity in many age groups and at different levels for US public health objectives. See background information for each and understand how physical activity is assessed.


  • National Immunization Survey (NIS)
    NIS provides national, state, and selected urban-area estimates of vaccination coverage rates for US children ages 19 to 35 months. Since July 2001, breastfeeding questions have been included to assess the population’s breastfeeding practices.
  • Infant Feeding Practices Survey II
    CDC collaborates with researchers from the Food and Drug Administration to conduct this nationwide longitudinal study focused on infant feeding practices and the diets of women from their third trimester to 12 months postpartum.
  • Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care (mPINC)
    This survey of US labor and delivery service facilities is an effort to monitor maternity care practices associated with successful breastfeeding promotion and support. The survey occurs every other year; the first survey was in 2007.
  • SummerStyles
    SummerStyles is a private proprietary national marketing survey that annually collects health-related opinions of men and women aged 18 years and older. Formerly called HealthStyles, the survey includes a large, demographically diverse sample of the US population and reflects current social and cultural norms. CDC has contributed breastfeeding questions to the survey since 1999.
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