The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the most comprehensive survey of the health and nutritional status of the U.S. population, will be offered to residents in Marathon County beginning July 8.

Marathon County is one of 15 counties across the United States selected to be part of this initiative. Each year, only 5,000 residents nationwide are chosen to participate in NHANES, conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“NHANES serves as the nation’s ‘health check-up’ by going into communities throughout the country to collect health information,” said Brian Moyer, director of the National Center for Health Statistics, in a news release. “The survey provides a wealth of important data about many of the major health and nutritional issues affecting the country.” 

NHANES data address critical health concerns, such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Public health officials, legislators and physicians use this information to develop sound health policies, direct and design health programs, and services, and expand the health knowledge of the nation. NHANES data also help produce national references and standardized growth charts used by pediatricians across the country.

“This is a great opportunity for residents of Marathon County to participate in data collection about the health and well-being of our community” said Marathon County Health Officer Laura Scudiere in a news release. “We can use this data to understand how to make the lives of our friends and family in our area healthier and help everyone lead more fulfilling lives.”

Residents will have an invitation-only opportunity to participate in NHANES. Addresses are randomly sampled within Marathon County. 

Households will be sent one or more letters inviting them to be part of NHANES by completing a brief online questionnaire to see if anyone in their home is eligible to participate. Those eligible will be contacted by an NHANES representative to set up a telephone health interview at a convenient time, followed by a health examination that takes place in the NHANES mobile examination center. While no medical care is provided directly in the mobile examination center, a report on physical findings is given to each participant, along with an explanation of those findings from survey medical staff. All information collected in the survey is kept confidential and individual privacy is protected by law. NHANES is taking all precautions needed, as recommended by the CDC, to keep survey participants and staff safe by following guidelines on social distancing, use of personal protective equipment, handwashing and sanitation of the mobile examination center and all equipment.