The information gathered by NHANES
provides a snapshot of the health and nutrition of the U.S. population. Because of this,
persons in this survey are from a broad range of age groups and racial/ethnic backgrounds.
Each participant represents approximately 50,000 other U.S. residents. The identities of
our participants are held strictly confidential.
How was I selected?
Participants are selected through a complex
statistical process using the most current Census information. In simple terms,
NHANES divides the United States into communities. The communities are divided into
neighborhoods. The neighborhoods are selected at random. From each neighborhood, housing
units are selected at random. Selected households are approached by our interviewers
who ask residents a few short questions to determine if their household is eligible for
the study. (You may have received our introductory letter, sent to "resident" at
your home address.)
You have a unique health profile; if you are selected to be a participant, no other person
can be substituted for you. You were selected based on your age, gender, and
racial/ethnic background. No one can take your place in this survey.
How do I know this is a legitimate survey? NHANES History - NHANES has
a long history;
it has been in existence since the early 1960s and has surveyed over 140,000 people. NHANES was born out of The National Health Survey Act, 1956. This law authorized a survey
to provide current statistical data on the amount, distribution, and effects of illness
and disability in the United States.
Past Participants - Participants have
gained new insight into their health and have enjoyed taking part in the survey. The
feedback we have received from participants includes:
"My daughter and I went
through the survey and exam and we were both glad we did it. Everyone was so nice."
impressed by how professional everyone was."
"I think it
is great that the government helps keep us informed about health issues."
impressed by all of the high tech equipment."
Other Organizations - Additionally, many
national and local organizations, such as the AARP, NAACP, and the National Council of La Raza
endorse NHANES through letters
Staff - The NHANES staff consist of
professional individuals with a variety of health, research, and academic backgrounds. The
staff at the mobile examination center include: a doctor, a phlebotomist,
health technicians and highly trained interviewers. The home interviewers have varied
backgrounds in fields such as social work, the military, and education. The staff at
headquarters include: medical doctors, PhDs, nurses, health educators, and engineers.
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
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. The DXA body scan is used to measurebone density. 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. To determine which tests you will have click here.
**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 dates to call for your
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. To view an example of aFinal Report of
Findings click here. Your Final Report of Findings will be mailed to your home.
Contributing to the Health Knowledge in
the U.S. - Information gathered from NHANES has been used to influence policy and improve
the health of the U.S. population in many ways. Data
A Cash Remuneration - All participants,
regardless of age, are given a cash payment as a "thank-you" for their time and
effort. NHANES will also reimburse participants for transportation and baby/elder care.
The Interview An NHANES interviewer will come to your home to talk to you about the
survey. This interviewer should present a photo identification badge which identifies this
person as being from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The interviewer will ask you a few questions to see if you qualify
to participate. If you do, the interviewer will set up an appointment with you for an
in-home interview. During this interview you will be asked questions about your health,
disease history, and diet. The interview is approximately one hour and responses are
recorded on a laptop computer.
Examples of questions:
Has a doctor or other health professional ever told
you that you had arthritis?
Have you heard of MyPyramid?
Again, anything you say during this
interview is confidential. At the end of your interview, an appointment will be made
at our Mobile Examination Center.
The Health Examination The Mobile Exam Center (MEC) is made up of four trailers, linked sideways, which
contain high-tech medical equipment. The MEC is situated in a location convenient for
participants. The NHANES staff can help you with transportation to the MEC if
needed. To view the MEC, click here for a virtual
You will have a health examination
consisting of a number of measurements and tests. The exams will depend on your
age and gender and current medical conditions. To determine which tests you will have click here.
**This exam is not a substitute
for your regular health care examination. There will be no invasive internal exam and no
Who can I contact if I have questions? To discuss any aspect
of the survey, you can make a free call to Dr. Kathryn Porter
of the U.S.
Public Health Service 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 survey concerns. Your call will be returned as soon as
possible. Thank you.