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Jan 14 -- The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) asks OMB to approve its proposal to conduct the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), with changes, in 2021-22 and invites the public to submit comments by February 22, 2021 (30 days after submittal on January 21).  
 
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) has been conducted periodically between 1970 and 1994 and continuously since 1999 by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), CDC. Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, NHANES 2019-20 paused data collection operations, making this the first time since 1999 that NHANES did not operate on a continuous basis.

NHANES programs produce descriptive statistics, which measure the health and nutrition status of the general population. With physical examinations, laboratory tests, and interviews, NHANES studies the relationship between diet, nutrition, and health in a representative sample of the U.S. NHANES monitors the prevalence of chronic conditions and risk factors and produces national reference data on height, weight, and nutrient levels in the blood. Results from the 2021-22 NHANES will be used to assess current health measures in the U.S. population.

The program is making changes to NHANES content and procedures for 2021-22. The proposed changes include modifications to sample design, questionnaires, exam components, laboratory content, outreach materials, changes in select interview and exam modes, and changes to operational procedures. NHANES proposes these changes in response to COVID-19 and to address issues such as low response rates. The program consulted with collaborators, stakeholders, and the NCHS Board of Scientific Counselors (BSC). Due to these changes, largely driven by the pandemic, NHANES 2021-22 may not be comparable with previous or future NHANES cycles.
 
In NHANES 2021-22, the interviews that would historically occur via in-person interviews (i.e., screening, family, and sampled participant) will be conducted primarily over the phone. A significant reduction in interview content will occur in 2021-22 so the length of the interviews is feasible for the designed interview modes with reasonable burden to the respondents. Changes will also be made to focus on retaining questions directly related to the interpretation of examination or lab data collected in the survey and relevant to assess the effect of the pandemic. The program plans to add questions related to COVID-19 to the survey to complement NHANES laboratory measures. The program will drop select questions related to examination and laboratory content cycled out of the survey in 2021-22.
 
NHANES plans to conduct developmental projects during NHANES 2021-22 with a focus on planning for NHANES 2023 and beyond. These may include activities such as tests of new equipment, crossover studies between current and proposed methods, test of different study modes, settings, or technology, outreach materials, incentive strategies, sample storage and processing, or sample designs.
 
NHANES website: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes/index.htm
2021-22 NHANES submission to OMB: https://www.reginfo.gov/public/do/PRAViewICR?ref_nbr=202012-0920-018 Click on IC List for data collection instruments, View Supporting Statement for detail on plans, methods, and schedule.
FR notice inviting comment: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/01/14/2021-00691/agency-forms-undergoing-paperwork-reduction-act-review
 
Point of contact:  David Woodwell, Chief, Planning Branch, Division of Health and Nutrition Examination Statistics, National Center for Health Statistics/CDC  301-458-4327 DWoodwell@cdc.gov

For AEA members wishing to submit comments to OMB, "A Primer on How to Respond to Calls for Comment on Federal Data Collections" is available at https://www.aeaweb.org/content/file?id=5806

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