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May 13 -- The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), invites comment on a proposed information collection project titled National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). NHANES produces descriptive statistics, which measure the health and nutrition status of the general United States population. NCHS must receive written comments on or before July 12, 2024.

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, CDC. NHANES produces descriptive statistics, which measure the health and nutrition status of the general population. With personal interviews, physical examinations, and laboratory assessments, NHANES studies the relationship between diet, nutrition, and health in a representative sample of the United States. NHANES monitors the prevalence of chronic conditions and risk factors and is used to produce national reference data on height, weight, and nutrient levels in the blood. Results from more recent NHANES can be compared to findings reported from previous surveys to monitor changes in the health of the U.S. population over time.

In 2025-2026, the Program is not considering any substantial changes to NHANES content or procedures. As in previous years, the base sample will remain at approximately 5,000 interviewed and examined individuals annually. Children 0-17 years of age, persons 65 years of age or older, and non-Hispanic Black persons will be oversampled in the 2025-2026 survey. NCHS collects personally identifiable information (PII). Participant level data items will include basic demographic information, name, address, social security number, Medicare number and participant health information to allow for linkages to other data sources such as the National Death Index and data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

A variety of agencies sponsor data collection components on NHANES. In the 2025-2026 clearance proposal, the Program modified, added, or removed various components that were included in the August 2021-August 2023 NHANES to update and modernize processes for data collection. NHANES staff conducted a thorough review of the sample person and household questionnaire content and made changes to focus on retaining questions that are to be used in combination with specific exam or lab data collected in the survey, as independent prevalence estimates, or as covariates in statistical analyses (e.g., sociodemographic characteristics). Further review of all data collection instruments was done to update wording, update age restrictions for the respondent universe, align wording across instruments, eliminate duplicate questions, improve interview flow, and reduce respondent burden.

With the construction of a new fleet of five mobile examination centers (MECs) with updated designs, the 2025-2026 exam components will include post consent-questions, anthropometry, oscillometer measurements, venipuncture, urine collection, MEC ACASI questions, body composition, respiratory health, audiometry, visual acuity and ophthalmology, oral health, HPV oral rinse and DNA genital swab collection, and water fluoride testing. Liver elastography, urine testing for several sexually transmitted infections, serology testing for HPV and CMV antibodies, and MEC follow-up questionnaires were dropped.

First Dietary Recall interviews, the Flexible Consumer Behavior Survey, and the Second Dietary Recall interviews will be conducted via telephone either before or after the MEC visit, which is a new approach for the 2025-2026 survey. If the participant does not schedule their dietary interviews at the end of their household interview, the MEC staff will attempt to schedule these appointments at the end of the examination. This option provides more flexibility to complete the interviews, which may improve completion rates. Program staff will monitor response rates closely to assess whether scheduling dietary interviews after the household interviews has an impact on response rates for dietary interviews and/or MEC exams.

Although a few laboratory tests are new or have been removed in 2025-2026, most remain but have been modified. Predominantly, modifications are the result of adjustments in age eligibility. Several laboratory tests that have not been modified include CBC, hemoglobin variants, HIV, cadmium, and lead. RBC folate forms, LDC cholesterol, and chlamydia are examples of tests that have been removed for 2025-2026. New laboratory tests include B vitamins, choline and metabolites, and aldosterone. The biospecimens collected for laboratory tests include urine and blood. Serum, plasma, DNA, and urine specimens will be stored for future testing if the participant provides consent.

NHANES may conduct developmental projects during NHANES 2025-2026, with a focus on planning for NHANES 2027 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: https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes/index.htm
Draft survey instrument and technical documentation: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/80y42hflg99cu68u2mi7e/AAtN1WnKzOB6xPztgIBxWNI?rlkey=f1uqqsg5zgeui5fyinemv2yhy&st=q7oe8vo1&dl=0
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2024-10357

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