Houston Health Department

CDC national health survey coming to Harris County


Nov. 26, 2018

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 to Harris County beginning on November 29, 2018.

All counties in the United States have a chance to be selected for the NHANES and this year, Harris County is one of 15 counties that was selected to be part of this initiative. NHANES provides important data on public health problems from a national perspective.

Each year, 5,000 lucky residents 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 collect health information throughout the country,” said NCHS Director Charles J. Rothwell. “The survey is a unique resource for health information, and without it we would lack important knowledge about major health conditions.”

For the past 55 years, NHANES has had a prominent role in improving the health of all people living in the U.S. 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 findings provide critical health-related information on a number of issues such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In addition, NHANES data are used to produce national references and are used to create standardized growth charts for pediatricians across the country.

“Participating in this survey gives you the unique opportunity to help identify health issues that impact you, your family and community,” said Stephen Williams, director of the Houston Health Department. “We strongly endorse NHANES and hope you say yes if asked to participate.”

Everyone in the U.S., from babies yet to be born to the elderly, has benefited from the information gathered by NHANES. The comprehensive data collected by NHANES has a far-reaching and significant impact on everything from the quality of the air we breathe, to the vaccinations you get from your doctor, to the emergence of low-fat and “light” foods on the shelves of your grocery store.

Now, an NHANES team of health professionals, nutritionists and health technicians is heading toward Harris County and wants everyone who is lucky enough to be selected for the survey to agree to participate.

Residents will have an invitation-only opportunity to participate in NHANES. Individuals have been selected at random (in a process similar to taking names out of a hat) for NHANES, and include all ages, races, and ethnicities in order to represent the U.S. population as a whole. Respondents first participate in a health interview conducted in the respondent’s home 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 from survey medical staff. All information collected in the survey is kept confidential and privacy is protected by law.

Spanish media release

Vietnamese media release

Read the letter of support from Houston Health Department director Stephen Williams and Harris County Public Health director Dr. Umair A. Shah in English or Spanish.