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The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the most comprehensive study of the health and nutritional status of the U.S. population is underway in the northern part of Cook County. This survey monitors the health and nutritional status of the U.S. population and can be a valuable tool for developing effective health policies and programs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Each year, approximately 7,000 randomly-selected residents in 15 counties across the nation have the opportunity to participate in the latest National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, conducted by the CDC and the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).
“NHANES is very much like a ‘health exam center on wheels,’ that goes out into actual communities to get data on real Americans,” said NCHS Director Edward Sondik. “It truly is a unique resource for health information in this country, and without it we wouldn’t have data on a number of important health conditions,”
NHANES has been conducted by NCHS for nearly 50 years and provides annual estimates on a range of diseases such as the number of individuals who have heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, hypertension, respiratory disease, and other conditions.
The information gathered in NHANES is used by public health officials, legislators, and physicians to develop sound health policies, direct and design health programs and services, and expand the health knowledge for the nation. In addition, NHANES data is used to create standardized growth charts used by pediatricians across the country to track children’s growth.
Individuals selected for the survey represent the U.S. population of all ages. Additional emphasis in the current NHANES is placed on the health of older persons, African-Americans and Hispanics.
Respondents first participate in a health interview conducted in the respondent’s home. The health examination that follows takes place in one of three mobile examination centers that travel to different communities, large and small, urban and rural, across the country for data collection.
A team of health personnel, including a physician, nutritionists, and health and laboratory technicians using high-tech, state-of-the-art equipment, staffs the mobile examination centers. A team of specially-trained professionals conducts the household interviews.