Workshop summary: building an NHANES for the future

Am J Clin Nutr. 2024 Feb 6:S0002-9165(24)00068-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ajcnut.2024.02.001. Online ahead of print.


The American Society for Nutrition's (ASN) Committee on Advocacy and Science Policy (CASP) organized a workshop, "Building a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) for the Future," held during NUTRITION 2023, which took place in Boston, MA in July 2023. CASP had already identified an urgent need for increased support and modernization to ensure that a secure future for NHANES is achievable. The survey faces challenges associated with data collection, stagnant funding, and a need for more granular data for subpopulations and groups at risk. The workshop provided an overview of NHANES, including the nutrition component, and the many other uses for the survey's data, which extend beyond nutrition. Speakers highlighted NHANES's current and emerging challenges, as well as possible solutions to address these challenges, especially with regard to response rates of underrepresented groups, linkage of survey data to other resources, incorporation of new survey methodologies, and emerging data needs. The workshop also included a "Town Hall" component to gather additional feedback on NHANES' challenges and proposed solutions from audience members. The workshop provided many possible action items that ASN will explore and use to inform effective continued advocacy in support of NHANES and to find possible opportunities for ASN and others to partner with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention National Center for Health Statistics to strengthen this vital survey and maintain its robust and relevant data moving forward.

Keywords: NHANES; data; health; nutrition; survey challenges.