Tour of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

Last week I had the pleasure of attending a private tour of the CDC's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which assesses the health and nutrition of the U.S. population based on an annual representative sample of 5,000 participants. Health interviews are conducted in respondents’ homes, while physical exams and lab tests are conducted in mobile centers - which we visited. The data collected ranges from weight, height, portion size, hearing, strength, etc. This year NHANES introduced the collection of data on youth physical fitness. Our tour guide informed us that the measurements respondents receive translate into roughly $7,000 worth of medical exams. The data collected is vast and detailed.

So what is the purpose of the data? It is used as national averages to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the U.S. It is also used as a tool for policy makers and public health experts. The data is also important to inform businesses about the health trends of the U.S. population today and providing a glimpse into where these trends may be headed tomorrow.

Below Charles Stokes, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation, further describes the importance of the NHANES to businesses:

"Because NHANES helps identify new and emerging health issues, our partners often use the data to help determine their priorities as they direct their health philanthropy or corporate giving or strive to stay at the cutting edge of lowering healthcare costs by keeping  their workforces healthy."

Read more from Mr. Stokes about the tour and the business implications of the NHANES