Advance Search

National Health Survey Underway in Harris County

01/29/2011

HOUSTON: The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the most comprehensive study of the health and nutritional status of the U.S. population gets underway in Harris County beginning on January 30, 2011.

What is the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey?

• Unique program that monitors the health and nutritional status of the U.S. population

• Valuable tool for developing effective health policies and programs

• It is an opportunity to gain information about one’s health

• The survey includes health interviews and health measurements

Each year, approximately 7,000 randomly-selected residents in 15 counties across the nation have the opportunity to participate in the latest National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). “NHANES serves as the nation’s ‘health check-up,’ going into communities to get health information throughout the country,” said CDC Director Thomas Frieden. “The survey is a unique resource for health information, and without it we would lack important knowledge about major health conditions.”

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the most comprehensive study of the health and nutritional status of the U.S. population gets underway in Harris County beginning on January 30, 2011

NHANES has been conducted by NCHS for nearly 50 years and provides annual estimates on a range of diseases such as the number of individuals who have heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, hypertension, respiratory disease, and other conditions.

The information gathered in NHANES is used by public health officials, legislators, and physicians to develop sound health policies, direct and design health programs and services, and expand the health knowledge for the nation. In addition, NHANES data is used to create standardized growth charts used by pediatricians across the country to track children’s growth.

Individuals selected for the survey represent the U.S. population of all ages. Additional emphasis in the current NHANES is placed on the health of older persons, Asian- Americans, African-Americans, and Hispanics. Respondents first participate in a health interview conducted in the respondent’s home. The health examination that follows takes place in one of three mobile examination centers that travel to different communities, large and small, urban and rural, across the country for data collection.

A team of health personnel, including a physician, dentist, nutritionists, and health and laboratory technicians using high-tech, state-of-the-art equipment, staffs the mobile examination centers. A team of specially-trained professionals conducts the household interviews. All participants receive an examination by a physician, as well as a dietary interview, and body measurements that include height and weight. Some will be eligible for a hearing test, a scan to evaluate body fat, a breathing test, as well as a blood pressure test. The various tests and procedures depend upon the age of the participant. No medical care is provided directly in the examination center, but a report on the medical findings is given to each participant along with an explanation from survey medical staff.

All individual information collected in the survey is kept strictly confidential, and privacy is protected by public law. Participants selected to undergo the physical examination receive reimbursement for travel expenses and remuneration of up to $125 per person.