Back to all updates

about 5 years ago

What you need to know: NHANES Datasets

One of the requirements for the PACT Healthcare App Challenge is to use one or more of the NHANES datasets within your application. We know a lot of you are unfamiliar with them, so we put together a crash course:

What is NHANES anyway?

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (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 combines interviews and physical examinations. Every year, the survey examines a nationally representative sample of about 5,000 people around the country.

NHANES interviews include demographic, socioeconomic, dietary, and health-related questions. The examination component consists of medical, dental, and physiological measurements, as well as laboratory tests administered by highly trained medical personnel.

How is NHANES data used right now?

NHANES surveys are used to determine the prevalence of major diseases and risk factors for diseases, assess nutritional status and its association with health promotion & disease prevention, and establish the basis of national standards for height, weight, blood pressure, and other measurements.

How do I access the data?

The specific data available varies by year. For instance, if you go into the 2011-2012 Section, you'll see that there are six types of data available (Demographics, Dietary, Examination, Laboratory, Questionnaire, and Limited Access Data). Navigating into any of these data types will lead you to a page where you can download the data directly.

What data should I use in my application?

The extent to which you use the NHANES data in your application is up to you. However, you’re encouraged to take a look at the more specific sub-data sets, particularly the Dietary data and Examination data.

Remember, in addition to integrating a NHANES dataset, your submitted application must be consumer facing and focus on helping chronically ill diabetes patients lower medical costs through proactive condition management. That includes improving health behaviors like  medication adherence, diet, exercise, etc.


We’re here to help. If you have any questions about the challenge, post on the discussion forum or and we’ll respond as soon as we can.