National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES): U.S. Residents - VA Cooperative Studies Program (CSP)
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National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES): U.S. Residents


Investigator Access

What's Available

Research data: Non-identifying individual level health data including demographic, nutrition, biospecimen, and behavior information are available for download from the NHANES website, with more detailed datasets available upon request. 

Available Documentation 

Dates Data are Available 

1960 - present

Access Criteria 

Datasets are available for public download. More detailed data are available with an application and approval process.  

Study Characteristics


NHANES is a program of studies designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States. The survey is unique in that it collects interviews and physical examinations.

Era of Service



  • Target: Civilian, non-institutionalized U.S. population
  • Sample: Households in 15 U.S. counties per year

Study Design 

Cross-sectional, population-based survey

Time Period 

1999 - present, results published biennially


National, 15 counties per year


5,000 people per year

Response Rate


    Total N Response Rate  
Year  Interview Exam Interview Exam Veteran N
1999 - 2000  9,965 9,388 82% 76% 717
2001 - 2002  11,039 10,477 84% 80% 838
2003 - 2004  10,122 9,643 79% 76% 774
2005 - 2006  10,348 9,950 80% 77% 705
2007 - 2008 10,149 9,762 78% 75% 767
2009 - 2010 10,537 10,253 79% 77% 770
2011 - 2012  9,756 9,338 73% 70% 551
 2013 - 2014   10,175  9,813 71%  68%  543
2015 - 2016 9,971  9,544 65%  62%  527 
2017 - 2018 9,254 8,704 52% 49% 561


Recruitment Method    

Participants are determined by algorithm and recruitment is done in-person.


$300 plus travel expenses

Data Collected

  • Demographic variables
  • Dietary information
  • Physical Examination (including medical, dental, physiological measurements)
  • Laboratory specimen results
  • Questionnaires from interviews

Data Collection Methods

  1. Interview in participants’ homes, using Computer Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI) for certain dimensions of the survey.
  2. Mobile trailers were used for in-person examinations, including biospecimen collection.

Funding Sources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Office of Financial Resources





Selected Publications

McQuillan GM, McLean JE, Chiappa M, Corporation H, Lukacs SL. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey Biospecimen Program: NHANES III (1988-1994) and NHANES 1999-2014. Vital Health Stat 2. Jul 2015; (170):1-14.

Ahluwalia N, Dwyer J, Terry A, Moshfegh A, Johnson C. Update on NHANES Dietary Data: Focus on Collection, Release, Analytical Considerations, and Uses to Inform Public Policy. Adv Nutr. Jan 2016; 7(1):121-34.

Lehavot K, Katon JG, Williams EC, Nelson KM, Gardella CM, Reiber GE, Simpson TL. Sexual Behaviors and Sexually Transmitted Infections in a Nationally Representative Sample of Women Veterans and Nonveterans. J Womens Health. Mar 2014; 23(3):245-52.

Frenk SM, Sautter JM, Paulose-Ram R. Prevalence and Trends in Psychotropic Medication use Among US Male Veterans, 1999-2010. Parmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. Nov 2015; 24(11):1215-9.

More Information

Study website
NHANES - What's New
Survey Results and Products from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey