Health Status

Download Health Status Data Dictionary

At each visit, participants were sent a detailed questionnaire to complete at home; questionnaires were reviewed for completeness during the clinic visit. The questionnaires asked about a variety of health conditions.

In most visits, participants were asked to:

  • rate their general health (personally and as compared to others the same age), and their physical and emotional functioning using questions similar to those on the RAND 36-Item Short Form Health Survey (SF-36) developed as part of the Medical Outcomes Study;
  • indicate the number of doctor and hospital visits in past year, and reasons for hospital visits;
  • indicate whether they had ever been told by a doctor that they had any of an extensive list of chronic diseases, including different types of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, pulmonary disease, kidney disease, liver disease, thyroid disease, osteoporosis and different types of cancer. Participants were also asked to indicate age at first diagnosis of each type of cancer.

Annual Mailer Health Status Data

Download Annual Mailer Data Summary Table

The Annual Mailers contain a large amount of Health Status data, including:

  • the complete SF-36 in two mailers (M13-1995, M18-2000) and the complete SF-12 in three mailers (M23-2006, M26-2009, M31-2014)
  • the same list of chronic diseases queried at research clinic visits was also queried in 15 of the 32 annual mailers — 11 of these include age at first diagnosis (indicated under the Health Update column in the Annual Mailer Data Summary Table)
  • detailed self-report information on select conditions and diseases such as CVD, headache, back pain, fractures, fatigue etc. See the Health Status column in Annual Mailer Data Summary Table for details.

In addition, the Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q)1 was included in Mailer 28 (2011).  The PAR-Q is an 8-item questionnaire that assesses health conditions and physician recommendations limiting participation in physical activity.

Note: Annual Mailer data are available in individual cross-sectional datasets for each Mailer and are not included in the Health Status longitudinal dataset.  See the Annual Mailers tab for details.


1. Thomas S, Reading J, Shephard RJ.  Revision of the physical activity readiness questionnaire (PAR-Q).  Can J Sport Sci.  1992;17(4):338-45.