NHANES, nation’s mobile health survey, traveling to 15 counties to learn about health of US population
Submitted by the Erie County Department of Health
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the most comprehensive survey of the health and nutritional status of the U.S. population, is coming to Erie County beginning Aug. 16.
Why Erie County? All counties in the U.S. have a chance to be selected for the NHANES. In 2021, Erie County is one of 15 counties selected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to be part of this initiative.
Each year, only 5,000 residents across the nation have the chance to participate in NHANES, conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), part of the CDC.
“NHANES serves as the nation’s ‘health check-up,’ by going into communities to collect health information throughout the country,” said Brian C. Moyer, Ph.D., director of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). “The survey provides a wealth of important data about many of the major health and nutritional issues affecting the country.”
Erie County Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein said, “The information collected by NHANES gives valuable, critical insights into local and national health trends. Erie County residents who are selected for this project should feel confident that the answers they provide will be used to advance the important work done by public health agencies to promote better health outcomes for all.”
Since 1960, NHANES has had a prominent role in improving the health of all people living in the U.S. NHANES data address critical health concerns such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Public health officials, legislators and physicians use this information to develop sound health policies, direct and design health programs, and services, and expand the health knowledge for the nation. NHANES data are also used to produce national references and standardized growth charts used by pediatricians across the country.
NHANES collects a broad range of data that impact the everyday lives of everyone in the country, regardless of age. The survey addresses everything from air quality to vaccinations and the low-fat and “light” foods found in grocery stores. Now more than ever, collecting timely information on the status of the nation’s health is critical. A NHANES team of health professionals, nutritionists and health technicians is heading toward Erie County and wants everyone who has been selected for the survey to participate.
Residents will have an invitation-only opportunity to participate in NHANES. Addresses are randomly sampled within Erie County. By selecting participants this way, when combining data from all counties visited this year, NHANES data can represent the U.S. population.
Households will be sent one or more letters inviting them to be part of NHANES by completing a brief online questionnaire to see if anyone is eligible to participate in their home. Anyone eligible will be contacted by an NHANES representative to set up a telephone health interview at a convenient time, followed by a health examination that takes place in the NHANES mobile examination center.
While no medical care is provided directly in the mobile examination center, each participant receives a report on physical findings, along with an explanation from survey medical staff. All information collected in the survey is kept confidential and privacy is protected by law.
NHANES is taking all the precautions needed as recommended by the CDC to keep survey participants and staff safe following CDC guidelines on social distancing, use of personal protective equipment, handwashing, and sanitation of the mobile examination center and all equipment.
•Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES): https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes/index.htm