National Health Survey Underway in East Baton Rouge

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Released: Monday, February 24, 2014

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), the most comprehensive survey of the health and nutritional status of the U.S. population is coming to East Baton Rouge Parish, LA beginning on February 26, 2014.

“NHANES serves as the nation’s ‘health check-up,’ going into communities to collect health information throughout the country,” said CDC Director Thomas Frieden. “The survey is a unique resource for health information, and without it we would lack important knowledge about major health conditions.”

“Pennington Biomedical is thrilled to be hosting NHANES during their visit to Baton Rouge,” said Dr. Peter Katzmarzyk, Associate Executive Director for Preventive Medicine and Healthy Aging at Pennington Biomedical, “Our scientists use NHANES data in their studies on a regular basis, and it is great to see the data collection first hand”.

“NHANES has provided an incredibly rich source of information in regards to important public health concerns such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and other heart disease risk factors,” commented Dr. William Cefalu, Executive Director of Pennington Biomedical.

Each year, 5000 lucky residents across the nation have the chance to participate in the latest National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

For the past 50 years, NHANES has had a prominent role in improving the health of all people living in the U.S. Public health officials, legislators, and physicians use the information gathered in NHANES to develop sound health policies, direct and design health programs and services, and expand the health knowledge for the nation. NHANES findings provide critical health-related information on a number of issues such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In addition, NHANES data are used to produce national references and are used to create standardized growth charts for pediatricians across the country.

Everyone in the U.S., from babies yet to be born to the elderly, has benefited from the information gathered by NHANES. The comprehensive data collected by NHANES has a far reaching and significant impact on everything from the quality of the air we breathe, to the vaccinations you get from your doctor, to the emergence of low-fat and “light” foods on the shelves of your grocery store. Now, an NHANES team of health professionals, nutritionists and health technicians is heading toward East Baton Rouge Parish and wants everyone who is lucky enough to be selected for the survey to agree to participate.

Residents will have an invitation-only opportunity to participate in NHANES. Individuals selected for the NHANES program represent the U.S. population covering all ages, races, and ethnicities. Respondents first participate in a health interview conducted in the respondent’s home followed by a health examination that takes place in one of three mobile examination centers.

No medical care is provided directly in the mobile examination center, but a report on physical findings is given to each participant along with an explanation from survey medical staff. The various tests and procedures performed depend on the age and gender of the participant. All information collected in the survey is kept strictly confidential and privacy is protected by public law.

(Primary) Jacque DeMatteis (225) 224- 0308
(Secondary) Nora Martinello (888) 639-2982


The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. It is a campus of Louisiana State University and conducts basic, clinical and population research. The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes approximately 80 faculty and more than 25 post-doctoral fellows who comprise a network of 44 laboratories supported by lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and support personnel, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Pennington Biomedical's more than 500 employees perform research activities in state-of-the-art facilities on the 222-acre campus located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.