Table of Contents

Component Description

The Weight History section of the Sample Person Questionnaire (variable name prefix WHQ) provides personal interview data on several topics related to body weight, including self-perception of weight, self-reported weight over the participant’s lifetime, attempted weight loss during the past 12 months, and methods used to try to lose weight and to keep from gaining weight.

Eligible Sample

Participants aged 16 years and older were eligible. However, age to participate for some questions in this section vary. Please review the codebook carefully. Frequency counts were verified during the preparation of the file.

Interview Setting and Mode of Administration

Trained interviewers asked these questions, in the home, using the Computer-Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI) system.

For details on the administration of the WHQ_I, please refer to the Weight History Sample Person Questionnaire on the NHANES website.

Quality Assurance & Quality Control

The CAPI system is programmed with built-in consistency checks to reduce data entry errors. CAPI also uses online help screens to assist interviewers in defining key terms used in the questionnaire.

Data Processing and Editing

Edits were made to some variables to ensure the completeness, consistency, and analytic usefulness of the data. Edits were also made, when necessary, to address data disclosure concerns. When a variable was modified globally, as part of the editing process, the third letter in the variable name was changed from a Q (i.e., WHQ) to a D (i.e., WHD). For example, height data were collected as feet and inches, but standardized to inches using the conversion factors 0.3937 inches per centimeter and 12 inches per foot. Current and past self-reported weights were standardized to weight in pounds using the conversion factor 2.2046 pounds per kilogram.

Reported heights and weights, considered being physiologically implausible or the result of interviewer data entry error, were coded as “missing.”

If maximum weight (WHQ150) extended over more than one year, the interviewer recorded the most recent age at which the survey participant reported that weight.

All responses to WHQ150 (age when weighed the most) of 80 years and older were coded as ‘80’ to be consistent with the way age of the survey participant was coded in the demographic file.

Analytic Notes

Although data in this file were collected as part of the household interview, if they are merged with the MEC exam data, exam sample weights should be used for analyses.

Please refer to the NHANES Analytic Guidelines and the on-line NHANES Tutorial for further details on the use of sample weights and other analytic issues.

Codebook and Frequencies

SEQN - Respondent sequence number

Variable Name:
SEQN
SAS Label:
Respondent sequence number
English Text:
Respondent sequence number.
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS

WHD010 - Current self-reported height (inches)

Variable Name:
WHD010
SAS Label:
Current self-reported height (inches)
English Text:
These next questions ask about {your/SP's} height and weight at different times in {your/his/her} life. How tall {are you/is SP} without shoes?
English Instructions:
ENTER HEIGHT IN FEET AND INCHES OR METERS AND CENTIMETERS.
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
47 to 84 Range of Values 6157 6157
7777 Refused 1 6158
9999 Don't know 167 6325
. Missing 2 6327

WHD020 - Current self-reported weight (pounds)

Variable Name:
WHD020
SAS Label:
Current self-reported weight (pounds)
English Text:
How much {do you/does SP} weigh without clothes or shoes?
English Instructions:
RECORD CURRENT WEIGHT. IF PREGNANT, ASK FOR WEIGHT BEFORE PREGNANCY. ENTER WEIGHT IN POUNDS OR KILOGRAMS.
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
75 to 600 Range of Values 6211 6211
7777 Refused 9 6220
9999 Don't know 107 6327
. Missing 0 6327

WHQ030 - How do you consider your weight

Variable Name:
WHQ030
SAS Label:
How do you consider your weight
English Text:
{Do you/Does SP} consider {your/his/her}self now to be . . . [If {you are/she is} currently pregnant, what did {you/she} consider {your/her}self to be before {you were/she was} pregnant?]
English Instructions:
CAPI INSTRUCTION: DISPLAY OPTIONAL SENTENCE [If {you are/she is} currently pregnant...] ONLY IF SP IS FEMALE AND AGE IS 16 THROUGH 59.
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
1 Overweight, 3047 3047
2 Underweight, or 391 3438
3 About the right weight? 2872 6310
7 Refused 1 6311
9 Don't know 16 6327
. Missing 0 6327

WHQ040 - Like to weigh more, less or same

Variable Name:
WHQ040
SAS Label:
Like to weigh more, less or same
English Text:
Would {you/SP} like to weigh . . .
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
1 More, 611 611
2 Less, or 3790 4401
3 Stay about the same? 1922 6323
7 Refused 1 6324
9 Don't know 3 6327
. Missing 0 6327

WHD050 - Self-reported weight - 1 yr ago (pounds)

Variable Name:
WHD050
SAS Label:
Self-reported weight - 1 yr ago (pounds)
English Text:
How much did {you/SP} weigh a year ago?
English Instructions:
ENTER WEIGHT IN POUNDS OR KILOGRAMS. IF PREGNANT, ASK FOR WEIGHT BEFORE PREGNANCY.
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
60 to 600 Range of Values 6185 6185
7777 Refused 4 6189
9999 Don't know 138 6327
. Missing 0 6327

WHQ055 - CHECK ITEM

Variable Name:
WHQ055
English Instructions:
BOX 1. CHECK ITEM WHQ055: IF WEIGHT IN WHD050 IS 10 POUNDS OR MORE THAN WEIGHT IN WHD020 (E.G., WHD050 = 150 LBS WHD020 = 135 LBS), CONTINUE. OTHERWISE, GO TO WHQ070.
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS

WHQ060 - Weight change intentional

Variable Name:
WHQ060
SAS Label:
Weight change intentional
English Text:
Was the change between {your/SP's} current weight and {your/his/her} weight a year ago intentional?
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
1 Yes 802 802 WHD080A
2 No 465 1267
7 Refused 0 1267
9 Don't know 2 1269
. Missing 5058 6327

WHQ070 - Tried to lose weight in past year

Variable Name:
WHQ070
SAS Label:
Tried to lose weight in past year
English Text:
During the past 12 months, {have you/has SP} tried to lose weight?
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
1 Yes 2116 2116
2 No 3392 5508 WHQ225
7 Refused 1 5509 WHQ225
9 Don't know 3 5512 WHQ225
. Missing 815 6327

WHD080A - Ate less to lose weight

Variable Name:
WHD080A
SAS Label:
Ate less to lose weight
English Text:
How did {you/SP} try to lose weight?
English Instructions:
HAND CARD WHQ1. CODE ALL THAT APPLY.
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
10 Ate less food (amount) 1756 1756
77 Refused 0 1756
99 Don't know 0 1756
. Missing 4571 6327

WHD080B - Switched to foods with lower calories

Variable Name:
WHD080B
SAS Label:
Switched to foods with lower calories
English Text:
How did {you/SP} try to lose weight?
English Instructions:
HAND CARD WHQ1. CODE ALL THAT APPLY.
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
11 Switched to foods with lower calories 940 940
. Missing 5387 6327

WHD080C - Ate less fat to lose weight

Variable Name:
WHD080C
SAS Label:
Ate less fat to lose weight
English Text:
How did {you/SP} try to lose weight?
English Instructions:
HAND CARD WHQ1. CODE ALL THAT APPLY.
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
12 Ate less fat 945 945
. Missing 5382 6327

WHD080D - Exercised to lose weight

Variable Name:
WHD080D
SAS Label:
Exercised to lose weight
English Text:
How did {you/SP} try to lose weight?
English Instructions:
HAND CARD WHQ1. CODE ALL THAT APPLY.
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
13 Exercised 1888 1888
. Missing 4439 6327

WHD080E - Skipped meals

Variable Name:
WHD080E
SAS Label:
Skipped meals
English Text:
How did {you/SP} try to lose weight?
English Instructions:
HAND CARD WHQ1. CODE ALL THAT APPLY.
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
14 Skipped meals 570 570
. Missing 5757 6327

WHD080F - Ate diet foods or products

Variable Name:
WHD080F
SAS Label:
Ate diet foods or products
English Text:
How did {you/SP} try to lose weight?
English Instructions:
HAND CARD WHQ1. CODE ALL THAT APPLY.
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
15 Ate 'diet' foods or products 266 266
. Missing 6061 6327

WHD080G - Used a liquid diet formula

Variable Name:
WHD080G
SAS Label:
Used a liquid diet formula
English Text:
How did {you/SP} try to lose weight?
English Instructions:
HAND CARD WHQ1. CODE ALL THAT APPLY.
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
16 Used a liquid diet formula such as slimfast or optifast 150 150
. Missing 6177 6327

WHD080H - Joined a weight loss program

Variable Name:
WHD080H
SAS Label:
Joined a weight loss program
English Text:
How did {you/SP} try to lose weight?
English Instructions:
HAND CARD WHQ1. CODE ALL THAT APPLY.
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
17 Joined a weight loss program such as Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, Tops, or Overeaters Anonymous 99 99
. Missing 6228 6327

WHD080I - Took prescription diet pills

Variable Name:
WHD080I
SAS Label:
Took prescription diet pills
English Text:
How did {you/SP} try to lose weight?
English Instructions:
HAND CARD WHQ1. CODE ALL THAT APPLY.
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
31 Took diet pills prescribed by a doctor 93 93
. Missing 6234 6327

WHD080J - Took non-RX suppl. to lose weight

Variable Name:
WHD080J
SAS Label:
Took non-RX suppl. to lose weight
English Text:
How did {you/SP} try to lose weight?
English Instructions:
HAND CARD WHQ1. CODE ALL THAT APPLY.
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
32 Took other pills, medicines, herbs, or supplements not needing a prescription 196 196
. Missing 6131 6327

WHD080K - Took laxatives or vomited

Variable Name:
WHD080K
SAS Label:
Took laxatives or vomited
English Text:
How did {you/SP} try to lose weight?
English Instructions:
HAND CARD WHQ1. CODE ALL THAT APPLY.
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
33 Took laxatives or vomited 37 37
. Missing 6290 6327

WHD080M - Drank a lot of water

Variable Name:
WHD080M
SAS Label:
Drank a lot of water
English Text:
How did {you/SP} try to lose weight?
English Instructions:
HAND CARD WHQ1. CODE ALL THAT APPLY.
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
34 Drank a lot of water 1579 1579
. Missing 4748 6327

WHD080N - Followed a special diet

Variable Name:
WHD080N
SAS Label:
Followed a special diet
English Text:
How did {you/SP} try to lose weight?
English Instructions:
HAND CARD WHQ1. CODE ALL THAT APPLY.
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
30 Followed a special diet 150 150
. Missing 6177 6327

WHD080O - Ate fewer carbohydrates

Variable Name:
WHD080O
SAS Label:
Ate fewer carbohydrates
English Text:
How did {you/SP} try to lose weight?
English Instructions:
HAND CARD WHQ1. CODE ALL THAT APPLY.
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
41 Ate fewer carbohydrates 818 818
. Missing 5509 6327

WHD080P - Started to smoke or began to smoke again

Variable Name:
WHD080P
SAS Label:
Started to smoke or began to smoke again
English Text:
How did {you/SP} try to lose weight?
English Instructions:
HAND CARD WHQ1. CODE ALL THAT APPLY.
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
42 Started to smoke or began to smoke again 44 44
. Missing 6283 6327

WHD080Q - Ate more fruits, vegetables, salads

Variable Name:
WHD080Q
SAS Label:
Ate more fruits, vegetables, salads
English Text:
How did {you/SP} try to lose weight?
English Instructions:
HAND CARD WHQ1. CODE ALL THAT APPLY.
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
43 Ate more fruits, vegetables, salads 1638 1638
. Missing 4689 6327

WHD080R - Changed eating habits

Variable Name:
WHD080R
SAS Label:
Changed eating habits
English Text:
How did {you/SP} try to lose weight?
English Instructions:
HAND CARD WHQ1. CODE ALL THAT APPLY.
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
44 Changed eating habits 1177 1177
. Missing 5150 6327

WHD080S - Ate less sugar, candy, sweets

Variable Name:
WHD080S
SAS Label:
Ate less sugar, candy, sweets
English Text:
How did {you/SP} try to lose weight?
English Instructions:
HAND CARD WHQ1. CODE ALL THAT APPLY.
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
45 Ate less sugar, candy, sweets 1178 1178
. Missing 5149 6327

WHD080T - Ate less junk food or fast food

Variable Name:
WHD080T
SAS Label:
Ate less junk food or fast food
English Text:
How did {you/SP} try to lose weight?
English Instructions:
HAND CARD WHQ1. CODE ALL THAT APPLY.
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
46 Ate less junk food or fast food 1335 1335
. Missing 4992 6327

WHD080U - Had weight loss surgery to lose weight

Variable Name:
WHD080U
SAS Label:
Had weight loss surgery to lose weight
English Text:
How did {you/SP} try to lose weight?
English Instructions:
HAND CARD WHQ1. CODE ALL THAT APPLY.
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
35 Had weight loss surgery 16 16
. Missing 6311 6327

WHD080L - Other

Variable Name:
WHD080L
SAS Label:
Other
English Text:
How did {you/SP} try to lose weight?
English Instructions:
HAND CARD WHQ1. CODE ALL THAT APPLY.
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
40 Other 30 30
. Missing 6297 6327

WHQ225 - Times lost 10 lbs or more to lose weight

Variable Name:
WHQ225
SAS Label:
Times lost 10 lbs or more to lose weight
English Text:
How many times {have you/has SP} lost 10 pounds or more because {you were/he was/she was} trying to lose weight? Was it . . .
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
1 1 to 2 1772 1772
2 3 to 5 908 2680
3 6 to 10 296 2976
4 11 times or more 220 3196
5 Never 3083 6279
7 Refused 2 6281
9 Don't know 46 6327
. Missing 0 6327

WHQ105 - CHECK ITEM

Variable Name:
WHQ105
English Instructions:
BOX 3. CHECK ITEM WHQ105: IF SP's AGE >= 36, CONTINUE. OTHERWISE, GO TO BOX 4.
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS

WHD110 - Self-reported weight-10 yrs ago (pounds)

Variable Name:
WHD110
SAS Label:
Self-reported weight-10 yrs ago (pounds)
English Text:
How much did {you/SP} weigh 10 years ago? [If you don't know {your/his/her} exact weight, please make your best guess.]
English Instructions:
ENTER WEIGHT IN POUNDS OR KILOGRAMS. IF PREGNANT, ASK FOR WEIGHT BEFORE PREGNANCY.
Target:
Both males and females 36 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
80 to 700 Range of Values 3991 3991
7777 Refused 2 3993
9999 Don't know 144 4137
. Missing 2190 6327

WHQ115A - CHECK ITEM

Variable Name:
WHQ115A
English Instructions:
BOX 4. CHECK ITEM WHQ115a: IF SP's AGE >= 27, CONTINUE. OTHERWISE, GO TO WHD140.
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS

WHD120 - Self-reported weight-age 25 (pounds)

Variable Name:
WHD120
SAS Label:
Self-reported weight-age 25 (pounds)
English Text:
How much did {you/SP} weigh at age 25? [If you don't know {your/his/her} exact weight, please make your best guess.] If ( you were/she was) pregnant, how much did (you/she) weigh before (your/her) pregnancy?
English Instructions:
ENTER WEIGHT IN POUNDS OR KILOGRAMS. IF PREGNANT, ASK FOR WEIGHT BEFORE PREGNANCY.
Target:
Both males and females 27 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
70 to 420 Range of Values 4817 4817
7777 Refused 3 4820
9999 Don't know 237 5057
. Missing 1270 6327

WHQ125 - CHECK ITEM

Variable Name:
WHQ125
English Instructions:
BOX 5. CHECK ITEM WHQ125: IF SP's AGE >= 50, CONTINUE. OTHERWISE, GO TO WHD140.
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS

WHD130 - Self-reported height - age 25 (inches)

Variable Name:
WHD130
SAS Label:
Self-reported height - age 25 (inches)
English Text:
How tall {were you/was SP} at age 25? [If you don't know {your/his/her} exact height, please make your best guess.]
English Instructions:
ENTER HEIGHT IN FEET AND INCHES OR METERS AND CENTIMETERS
Target:
Both males and females 50 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
51 to 84 Range of Values 2670 2670
7777 Refused 2 2672
9999 Don't know 148 2820
. Missing 3507 6327

WHD140 - Self-reported greatest weight (pounds)

Variable Name:
WHD140
SAS Label:
Self-reported greatest weight (pounds)
English Text:
Up to the present time, what is the most {you have/SP has} ever weighed?
English Instructions:
ENTER WEIGHT IN POUNDS OR KILOGRAMS. DO NOT INCLUDE WEIGHT DURING PREGNANCY.
Target:
Both males and females 18 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
75 to 559 Range of Values 5883 5883
7777 Refused 8 5891 WHQ190
9999 Don't know 101 5992 WHQ190
. Missing 335 6327

WHQ150 - Age when heaviest weight

Variable Name:
WHQ150
SAS Label:
Age when heaviest weight
English Text:
How old {were you/was SP} then? [If you don't know {your/his/her} exact age, please make your best guess.]
English Instructions:
ENTER AGE IN YEARS. Response cannot be greater than the age of the SP.
Target:
Both males and females 18 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
10 to 79 Range of Values 5736 5736
80 80 years or older 95 5831
77777 Refused 0 5831
99999 Don't know 46 5877
. Missing 450 6327

WHQ190 - Have you ever had wt loss surgery?

Variable Name:
WHQ190
SAS Label:
Have you ever had wt loss surgery?
English Text:
{Have you/Has SP} ever had weight loss surgery, also called bariatric surgery?
English Instructions:
INTERVIEWER INSTRUCTION: DO NOT INCLUDE LIPOSUCTION, TUMMY TUCK, EXTRA SKIN REMOVED OR FAT REMOVAL AS WEIGHT LOSS SURGERY.
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
1 Yes 58 58
2 No 6268 6326
7 Refused 0 6326
9 Don't know 1 6327
. Missing 0 6327

WHQ200 - Age when you had wt loss surgery

Variable Name:
WHQ200
SAS Label:
Age when you had wt loss surgery
English Text:
[How old {were you/was SP} when {you/she/he} had {the most recent} weight loss surgery?]
Target:
Both males and females 16 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
17 to 74 Range of Values 58 58
77777 Refused 0 58
99999 Don't know 0 58
. Missing 6269 6327