From 1960 to 1994, a total of seven national examination surveys were conducted. Beginning in 1999, the survey has been conducted continuously.
Continuous since 1999; data are publicly released in 2-year cycles. Estimates are calculated using one or more 2-year cycles.
Mode of Collection
Sample survey: in-home personal interviews, and physical examinations and laboratory tests in mobile examination centers (MEC).
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) is designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States. The survey is unique in that it combines interviews and physical examinations. The NHANES program includes a series of cross-sectional nationally representative health examination surveys. The health interview includes questions on demographic characteristics, health insurance status, health and diet behaviors, chronic and acute health conditions, mental health, and prescription medication use. Examination components may vary between survey cycles and generally include body measurements (weight, height, skin folds, body composition scans), blood pressure, and dental exams, and may also include vision, hearing, dermatology, fitness, balance and strength testing, respiratory testing, and taste and smell. Laboratory components may include hematology, organ and endocrine function (e.g., thyroid, kidney), environmental exposure, nutrition biomarkers, cardiovascular and metabolic health, and infectious disease.
From 1988 to 1994 (NHANES III), the survey targeted the U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population aged 2 months and older. Since 1999, all ages are covered.