NHANES made simple with RNHANES

November 22, 2016

By Herb Susmann

origami birdScientists spend a lot of time “munging” data. Finding, cleaning, and managing datasets can take up the majority of the time it takes to complete an analysis. Tools that make the munging process easier can save scientists a lot of time.

We are tackling a small part of this problem in the context of the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a national study conducted every two years that gathers data on American’s health, nutrition, and exposure to environmental chemicals. Data from NHANES is used widely by environmental health scientists to study the U.S. public’s exposure to chemicals.

Figuring out how to set up a proper analysis of NHANES data can be tricky if you’re starting from scratch. That’s why we wrote RNHANES, an R package that makes it easy to download, analyze, and visualize NHANES data. RNHANES streamlines accessing the data, helps to set up analyses that correctly incorporate the study’s sample weights, and has built in plotting functions.

Let’s take the package for a spin by conducting a real-world analysis of NHANES data. 

Herb Susmann

Herb Susmann is a former data scientist and software developer at Silent Spring Institute. His work focuses on creating tools and visualizations for communicating environmental health data.

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