At A Glance
- Collects data on childhood obesity, including state reports of childhood obesity.
- Sample sizes sufficient for state-level analyses in every state.
- Survey focuses on Healthy People goals.
- Data are used to estimate national and state-level prevalence for a wide range of physical, emotional, and behavioral child health indicators in combination with information on the child’s family context and neighborhood environment.
- Datasets may be used to stratify results by children of different ages, race/ethnicity groups, special health care needs status, insurance type, and more.
To collect data on health, health behaviors, family, and the neighborhood environment for children in the United States (U.S.).
Noninstitutionalized children and adolescents, ages 0 to 17 years, in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
Began in 2003. Conducted every 4 years. Most recent year conducted was 2018.
2003, 2007, and 2011/12: http://www.childhealthdata.org/learn/NSCH
after 2016: https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/nsch.html/ and https://mchb.hrsa.gov/data/national-surveys
Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) oversaw the sampling and telephone interviews for the 2003 and 2007 surveys.
The NSCH alternates with the National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs. Other national surveys collected through the State and Local Area Integrated Telephone Survey (SLAITS) program include the National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs, the National Immunization Survey (NIS), and the National Survey of Early Childhood Health. The National Immunization Survey provides the initial sampling frame for the SLAITS surveys.
Easy-to-use results from NSCH are available.
Going forward, the National Survey of Children’s Health and the National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs will be combined into one survey, which will be administered by the Census Bureau. TThe 2016 round of survey collection was posted in 2017. Future updates can be found here.
Data from the redesigned 2016 NSCH were released in September 2017. Starting with the 2017 NSCH, new national-level data will be released each year for the foreseeable future. The 2016 NSCH data release in September 2017 includes some state-level estimates; however, due to sample size limitations it may not be possible to release state-level estimates for all variables and subgroups of children annually. Subsequently, new and comprehensive state-level estimates will be available every 2-3 years.
Cross-sectional, random, multi-stage, stratified, probability sampling. Oversampling of major urban areas. Learn more.
Approximately 95,600 children and adolescents in 2012. Approximately 1,850 parents of children and youth were surveyed in each state.
The 2016 sample design: A sample of 364,150 household addresses was selected from the Census Master Address File (MAF).
The 2011/12 sampling frame included approximately 5% of completed cases by mobile phone.
Random State and Local Area Integrated Telephone Survey (SLAITS) conducted in English, Spanish, and several Asian languages. National Immunization Survey (NIS) sampling frame was used for the 2007 NSCH.
|Name||Methods of Assessment|
|Child receipt of free or reduced-cost breakfast and/or lunch at school||Interview/questionnaire (parent/caregiver)|
|Child’s race/ethnicity||Interview/questionnaire (parent/caregiver)|
|Child’s sex||Interview/questionnaire (parent/caregiver)|
|Disability (general; hearing; movement/physical; vision)||Interview/questionnaire|
|Health insurance status and type of coverage||Interview/questionnaire (parent/caregiver)|
|Neighborhood/community characteristics relevant to socioeconomic status||Interview/questionnaire (parent/caregiver)|
|Number of household members||Interview/questionnaire (parent/caregiver)|
|Parental employment||Interview/questionnaire (parent/caregiver)|
|Receipt of public assistance and food stamps by household members||Interview/questionnaire (parent/caregiver)|
|Name||Methods of Assessment|
|Early childhood (0-5 years): Type of first food given||Interview/questionnaire (parent/caregiver)|
|Early childhood (0-5 years): Whether child was breastfed||Interview/questionnaire (parent/caregiver)|
|Number of days in past week that family ate a meal together||Interview/questionnaire (parent/caregiver)|
|Name||Methods of Assessment|
|Middle childhood/adolescence (6-17 years): Amount of time child spends in recreational computer use, television/video watching, video gaming on a week day||Interview/questionnaire (parent/caregiver)|
|Middle childhood/adolescence (6-17 years): Family rules about television viewing||Interview/questionnaire (parent/caregiver)|
|Middle childhood/adolescence (6-17 years): Number of days child engaged in vigorous physical activity for at least 20 minutes during the past week||Interview/questionnaire (parent/caregiver)|
|Middle childhood/adolescence (6-17 years): Participation in sports||Interview/questionnaire (parent/caregiver)|
|Middle childhood/adolescence (6-17 years): Television in child’s bedroom||Interview/questionnaire (parent/caregiver)|
|Neighborhood characteristics relevant to children’s activities (e.g., supervision by neighbors, cohesion, safety of residence and school)||Interview/questionnaire (parent/caregiver)|
|Neighborhood environment relevant to children’s physical activity (e.g., presence of sidewalks, parks/playground, recreation centers)||Interview/questionnaire (parent/caregiver)|
|Number of days parents/caregivers engaged in vigorous physical activity for at least 20 minutes during the past week||Interview/questionnaire (parent/caregiver)|
|Name||Methods of Assessment|
|Child’s birth weight (0-5 years only)||Interview/questionnaire (parent/caregiver)|
|Child’s weight and height at time of survey||Interview/questionnaire (parent/caregiver)|
Data Access and Cost
Download data files for the 2011/2012 Survey. Download data files for the 2007 Survey. Find SAS input formats for these data.
Obtain coded and cleaned datasets, which include hundreds of derived variables, free of charge from the Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative (CAHMI).
Free of charge for public-use data.
Restricted data must be accessed through the National Center for Health Statistics Research Data Center, which requires a set-up fee of $750 and a minimum access fee of $300. Learn more.
Obtain lists of NSCH restricted variables. Learn more about the various modes of restricted data access.
Investigators must submit proposals to the Research Data Center to obtain restricted use data. Learn more about developing and submitting proposals.
The most recent year for which data are available is not necessarily the most recent year this survey was conducted.
State, zip code (restricted), Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) county identifier (restricted).
Data on 10 HRSA regions, as well as RUCA (Rural-Urban Commuting Area) classification can also be obtained through the Data Resource Center.
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