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Utilization of the National Health and Nutrition Examination (NHANES) Survey for Symptoms, Tests, and Diagnosis of Chronic Respiratory Diseases and Assessment of Second hand Smoke Exposure
  • Published Date:
    Oct 25 2011
  • Source:
    Epidemiology (Sunnyvale). 2011; 1(2).
Filetype[PDF-103.05 KB]

  • Alternative Title:
    Epidemiology (Sunnyvale)
  • Description:

    Respiratory diseases encompass a number of complex disorders that constitute a major cause of both morbidity and mortality worldwide with a major burden to the afflicted as well as the health care systems that care for them. Although the prevalence of chronic respiratory diseases (CRDs) has been decreasing in industrialized countries due to a decreasing number of smokers and stricter laws aimed at reducing exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS), the burden of CRDs in developing world populations is expected to worsen due to communicable disease prevention programs, aging populations, environmental air pollution, and continued tobacco smoke exposure. Although tobacco smoking has been shown to be significantly associated with many CRDs, evidence linking SHS exposure to different CRDs is mixed, especially with low levels of SHS exposure.


    The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) is a series of studies designed to assess the health and nutritional status of non-institutionalized adults and children in the United States (U.S.). In addition to being used to monitor the health of the U.S. population, NHANES data allow for research into prevalent health problems and their risk factors in the population, such with CRDs and SHS exposure. NHANES data can be utilized to explore a variety of issues related to the assessment of SHS exposure and its association to respiratory symptoms and illnesses.


    First, we provide a brief review of NHANES including its strengths and limitations. We then provide a summary of the variables and publically available population based data that can be used to study associations between SHS exposure and CRD symptoms, testing and diagnoses.


    Rich and cost effective, NHANES data provide a unique opportunity for research into the risk factors for CRDs in the U.S. population, particularly into the possible health effects of low levels of SHS exposure.

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