National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

NHANES 2017-March 2020 Pre-Pandemic Data Release Notes

The NHANES program suspended field operations in March 2020 due to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. As a result, data collection for the NHANES 2019-2020 cycle was not completed and the collected data are not nationally representative. Therefore, NCHS combined data collected from 2019 to March 2020 with data from the NHANES 2017-2018 cycle to form a nationally representative sample of NHANES 2017-March 2020 pre-pandemic data and released public use files. This initial release does not contain all the data collected from this combined sample. Additional survey component files are still undergoing data processing, quality assessment, and disclosure review. As these processes are completed, there will be additional public releases of data files posted on the What's New page.

The data and documentation for the interview, laboratory, and examination components of the survey are released in numerous files to facilitate ease of use and access. This multiple file format requires the user to merge files to create analytic datasets. This data release will allow for analyses of data collected in 2017-March 2020 as well as the combination of these data with those collected in 1999-2016. Please refer to the Brief Overview and Analytic Guidance page as well as the National Health Statistics Report on selected estimates for obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and oral health for additional information on the use of the data. In addition, the NHANES Survey Methods and Analytic Guidelines site provides guidance on the use of appropriate sample weights and analytic strategies, and will be revised periodically to incorporate survey design changes and more recent statistical practices and procedures. Users are encouraged to check the What's New page and this site regularly for updates on available data, documentation, and guidelines.

NHANES data in this release are in SAS transport file format.

  • Use the XPORT engine to access this data in any version of SAS.
  • Copy the transport files to a permanent SAS library.

As an example, assume you have downloaded the Body Measures exam data to the folder "C:\NHANES". You can then use the following SAS code to copy the Body Measures Exam Data:


Additional details on downloading datasets can be found in the online tutorial.