National Health Examination Survey, Cycle I, 1959-1962: Body Measurements (ICPSR 9203)

Principal Investigator(s):


The National Health Examination Surveys, Cycle I (NHES I), conducted during the period 1959-1962, were designed to secure statistics on the health status of the population of the United States. More specifically, their purpose was to determine the prevalence of certain chronic diseases, the status of dental health, and the distributions of auditory and visual acuity and certain anthropometric measurements. This collection contains data relating to the physical measurements of each examined person. Eighteen measurements of body size were taken including right arm girth, chest girth, waist girth, right arm skinfold, right infrascapular skinfold, height, weight, sitting normal height, sitting erect height, knee height.

Series: National Health Examination Surveys, Cycles I-III Series

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Study Description


U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics. NATIONAL HEALTH EXAMINATION SURVEY, CYCLE I, 1959-1962: BODY MEASUREMENTS. Washington, DC: U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services, National Center for Health Statistics [producer], 1977. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1989.

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Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   body height, body weight, chronic illnesses, dental health, eyesight, health behavior, health history, health status, hearing (physiology), medical evaluation, physical characteristics, physical health, testing and measurement

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 1959-10--1962-12

Universe:   Adult (ages 18-79), civilian, noninstitutionalized population of the coterminous United States.

Data Types:   clinical data

Data Collection Notes:

All body dimensions other than weight are the scale readings recorded to the nearest millimeter. All linear measurements, other than skinfolds, were converted from centimeters to inches. Files from the NHES Cycle I, 1959-1962 may be linked using the File Sequence number in columns 1-5. The age distribution for this file is: N=3,853 ages 18-44, N=1,252 ages 45-54, N=861 ages 55-64, N=564 ages 65-74, and N=142 ages 75-79.


Sample:   National probability sample.

Data Source:

physical examinations


Original ICPSR Release:  

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