SACRAMENTO – The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the most comprehensive survey of the health and nutritional status of the U.S. population gets underway in Sacramento County beginning on February 2, 2012.

What is the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey?

  • Unique program that monitors the health and nutritional status of the U.S. population
  • A tool to assess the fitness level of U.S. children and adolescents
  • Valuable resource for developing effective health policies and programs
  • It is an opportunity to gain information about one’s health

Each year, residents in 15 counties across the nation have the chance to participate in the latest National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“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.”

Public health officials, legislators, and physicians use the information gathered in NHANES to develop sound health policies, direct and design health programs and services, and expand the health knowledge for the nation. NHANES captures data to identify and address health issues that will help everyone maintain independence and good health. In addition, national references are produced and standardized growth charts are created for pediatricians across the country using NHANES data.

This year, NHANES will embark on a new effort to increase attention to the importance of health related fitness in youth in the United States. This youth survey called the National Youth Fitness Survey (NYFS) will provide additional information with which to evaluate the health and weight of children and adolescents. Given the epidemic levels of childhood obesity throughout the nation, results from this national survey are extremely important.

Individuals selected for the NHANES program represent the U.S. population of all races/ethnicities and all ages. Respondents first participate in a health interview conducted in the respondent’s home followed by a health examination that takes place in one of three mobile examination centers.

No medical care is provided directly in the mobile examination center, but a report on physical findings is given to each participant along with an explanation from survey medical staff. The various tests and procedures depend upon the age of the participant. All information collected in the surveys is kept strictly confidential, and privacy is protected by public law.

Residents will have an invitation-only opportunity to participate in either the NHANES or the NYFS. Individuals who agree to participate will receive compensation for their time and travel expenses.