Protocol - Height - Self-Reported Height

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Protocol Name from Source:

2007-2008 National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) Weight History Questionnaire


Publicly available


The questions in the protocol ask the study subject his or her height.

NOTE: Self-reported height values are considered to be less accurate. Self-reported height is subject to error and is used when measured height cannot be obtained.


How tall {are you/is [participant]†} without shoes? ENTER HEIGHT IN FEET AND INCHES OR METERS AND CENTIMETERS






[ ] 7777 REFUSED

[ ] 9999 DON’T KNOW

†When the question is being asked of a proxy respondent, insert the participant’s name here.

*NOTE: Self-reported height values are considered to be less accurate. Self-reported height is subject to error and is used when measured height cannot be obtained.

Personnel and Training Required

The trained interviewer should be able to administer a questionnaire and be able to probe for information as necessary.

Equipment Needs



Requirement CategoryRequired
Average time of greater than 15 minutes in an unaffected individualNo
Major equipmentNo
Specialized requirements for biospecimen collectionNo
Specialized trainingNo

Mode of Administration


Life Stage:

Infant, Toddler, Child, Adolescent, Adult, Senior

Specific Instructions:

Three measurement protocols (Standing Height, Recumbent Height, and Knee Height) accommodate various groups of participants. Self-Reported Height should be used as a last resort only.

Several overarching, critical issues for high-quality data collection of anthropometric measures that optimize the data in gene-environment etiologic research include (1) the need for training (and retraining) of study staff in anthropometric data collection; (2) duplicate collection of measurements, especially under field conditions; (3) use of more than one person for proper collection of measurements where required; (4) accurate recording of the protocols and the measurement units of data collection; and (5) use of required and properly calibrated equipment.

The notion of recommending replicate measurements comes from the reduction in random errors of measurement and accompanying improved measurement reliability when the mean of multiple measurements is used rather than the a single measurement. This improvement in measurement reliability, however, depends on the reliability of a single measurement in the hands of the data collectors in a particular study (Himes, 1989). For example, if a measure such as standing height in a given study has a measurement reliability of 0.95 (expressed as an intraclass correlation coefficient), taking a second measurement and using the mean of the two measurements in analyses will improve the reliability to only 0.97, yielding only a 2% reduction in error variance for the additional effort. If, in the same study, the reliability of a single triceps skinfold measurement was 0.85, using the mean, including a replicate measurement, would raise the reliability to 0.92 and yield a 7% reduction in error variance, more than a three-fold improvement compared with recumbent length. Because the benefits of taking replicate measurements are so closely linked with the existing measurement reliability, it is recommended that as a part of the training of those who will be collecting anthropometry data, a reliability study be conducted that will yield measurement reliability estimates for the data collectors, protocols, settings, and participants involved in that particular study (Himes, 1989). If the measurement reliability for a single measurement is greater than or equal to 0.95, the recommendation is that replicate measurement are not necessary and will yield little practical benefit. If the measurement reliability is less than 0.95, the recommendation is to include replicate measurements as prescribed.

If replicate measurements are indicated because of relatively low reliability, a second measurement should be taken, including repositioning the participant. A third measurement should be taken if the first two measurements differ by more than 1.0 cm. If it is necessary to take a third measurement, the two closest measurements are averaged. Should the third measurement fall equally between the first two measurements, all three should be averaged.

Research Domain Information

Release Date:

October 1, 2015


Height is the distance from the top of the participant’s head to the heels of his or her feet (i.e., the vertical length).


Height or stature is used to assess body size and bone length. Recumbent length is used to measure length of infants, and knee height may be used to estimate height when stature cannot be measured in older adults.

Selection Rationale

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2007-2008 protocols were selected as best practice methodology and are the most widely used protocols to assess height.


English, Spanish


Common Data Elements (CDE)Person Self-Report Height Value2793242CDE Browser
Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC)Self reported height proto62296-9LOINC

Process and Review

The [link[phenx.org/node/62|Expert Review Panel #1]] reviewed the measures in the Anthropometrics, Diabetes, Physical Activity and Physical Fitness, and Nutrition and Dietary Supplements domains.

Guidance from the ERP includes:

• Revised descriptions of measure

Back-compatible: no changes to Data Dictionary

Previous version in Toolkit archive ([link[www.phenxtoolkit.org/index.php?pageLink=browse.archive.protocols&id=20000|link]])


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics. (2007). National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES) 2007-2008 Questionnaire. WEIGHT HISTORY - WHQ. Hyattsville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (The height question is included in the Weight History Questionnaire; see question #010.)

General References


Protocol ID:



Export Variables
Variable NameVariable IDVariable DescriptionVersiondbGaP Mapping
PX020704_Self_Reported_Height_MetersPX020704010100How tall {are you/is [participant]} without shoes?4N/A
PX020704_Self_Reported_Height_CentimetersPX020704010200How tall {are you/is [participant]} without shoes?4N/A
PX020704_Self_Reported_Height_FeetPX020704010300How tall {are you/is [participant]} without shoes?4N/A
PX020704_Self_Reported_Height_InchesPX020704010400How tall {are you/is [participant]} without shoes?4N/A
PX020704_Self_Reported_Height_CodedPX020704010500How tall {are you/is [participant]} without shoes?4N/A
PX020704_Self_Reported_Height_Proxy_NamePX020704020000When the question is being asked of a proxy respondent, insert the participant¿¿¿s name here4N/A