Houston Health Department
CDC national health survey returns to Houston/Harris County
January 4, 2022
HOUSTON - 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 once again to Houston/Harris County, starting January 7, 2022.
All U.S. counties and cities can be selected for the NHANES and, this year, Harris County is one of 15 counties selected for this initiative.
Each year, only 5,000 residents nationwide are chosen to participate in NHANES, conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Harris County residents will initially be invited to participate by letter.
Results from the NHANES provides important national data on critical public health issues.
“NHANES serves as the nation’s ‘health check-up,’ by going into communities throughout the country to collect health information,” 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.”
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 of the nation. NHANES data also help produce national references and standardized growth charts used by pediatricians across the country.
"This is a unique opportunity for Houstonians to take part in an important survey that affects us all,” said Stephen Williams, director of the Houston Health Department. “Improving the health and wellbeing of Houstonians is important and this survey will help give us the feedback to know just where we stand and where we need to improve with our intervention strategies.”
NHANES collects a broad range of data that impacts the lives of everyone in the country, regardless of age, addressing 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. An NHANES team of health professionals, nutritionists, and health technicians is heading to Harris County and strongly urges 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 Harris County and the City of Houston. By selecting participants this way, when combining data from all counties visited this year, NHANES data can more accurately 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 in their home is eligible to participate. Those 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, a report on physical findings is given to each participant, along with an explanation of those findings from survey medical staff.
All information collected in the survey is kept confidential and individual privacy is protected by law.
NHANES is taking all precautions needed, as recommended by the CDC, to keep survey participants and staff safe by following guidelines on social distancing, use of personal protective equipment, handwashing, and sanitation of the mobile examination center and all equipment.