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National Cancer Institute

How is NCI supporting the NHANES?

We provide funds to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) to support modules in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) that are critical to our risk factor monitoring mission.

For NHANES 2011-14, NCI proposed and coordinated funding from multiple NIH institutes and the Department of Defense for two components: a new technology physical activity monitor to be worn on the wrist and measurement of muscle strength using a hand-grip dynamometer. The wrist-worn accelerometer will provide the first objective measurement of sleep duration in a nationally representative sample, in addition to measuring physical activity movement. The muscle-strength measure will provide an indicator of total body strength for children, adults, and older adults who are NHANES participants.

Previously, NCI supported modules including the Food Frequency Questionnaire (formerly called Food Propensity Questionnaire) and a wearable physical activity monitor in the NHANES from 2003 - 2006. The FFQ data can be used to help estimate usual dietary intakes, and the physical activity monitors provide a much-needed objective assessment of this important risk factor.

We also have worked with NCHS to develop a series of Web-based tutorials to encourage and support analyses of NHANES data. NCI led the development of the dietary tutorial and the physical activity and cardiovascular fitness data tutorial.