Statistics From the National Health Interview Survey
The National Health Interview Survey (NHIS) is an annual study, conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), in which tens of thousands of Americans are interviewed about their health- and illness-related experiences. The complementary health approaches section of NHIS, developed by NCHS and NCCIH, was administered in 2002, 2007, 2012 and 2017.
The 2017 survey is the fourth conducted by NCCIH and NCHS—previous surveys occurred as part of the 2012, 2007, and 2002 NHIS. Previous surveys were broader and included substantially more questions while the 2017 survey focused on the use complementary practices not included in other large national surveys, such as meditation, yoga, and chiropractic.
Read the full 2017 reports:
The 2017 questionnaires:
- Adult complementary health practices questionnaire - pages 222-230 (1MB PDF)
- Child complementary health practices questionnaire - pages 83-90 (1MB PDF)
The 2012 survey is the third conducted by NCCIH and NCHS—previous surveys occurred as part of the 2007 and 2002 NHIS. The 2012 survey include substantially more questions than subsequent surveys.
- New reports based on data from the 2012 NHIS found that nonvitamin, nonmineral natural products remain the most popular complementary health approach used by American adults and children (continuing a trend first identified with the 2002 NHIS report and seen again in 2007). Using the NHIS survey results, these reports compare trends in the use of complementary approaches for 2002, 2007, and 2012.
- An analysis based on data from the 2012 NHIS found that an estimated 25.3 million adults experience daily pain—that is, they had pain every day for the 3 months prior to the survey. In addition, nearly 40 million adults experience severe levels of pain and are also likely to have worse health status.
- People who take natural product supplements or who practice yoga are more likely to do so for wellness than for treating a health condition. In contrast, people who use spinal manipulation more often do so for treatment reasons rather than wellness.
- About 59 million Americans spend money out-of-pocket on complementary health approaches, and their total spending adds up to $30.2 billion a year.
- An analysis of data from the 2012 NHIS yields a new picture of fibromyalgia and the people it affects. Fibromyalgia is a disorder that causes widespread pain, fatigue, and other symptoms; its causes are unknown.
The 2007 NHIS gathered data from 23,393 completed interviews with U.S. adults aged 18 years and over and 9,417 completed interviews for U.S. children aged 0–17. The 2007 complementary health approaches section included questions on 36 types of complementary therapies commonly used in the United States—10 types of provider-based therapies, such as acupuncture and chiropractic, and 26 other therapies that do not require a provider, such as herbal supplements and meditation.
Use of Complementary Health Approaches: Adults and Children, 2007
- In 2007, approximately 38 percent of U.S. adults aged 18 years and over and approximately 12 percent of children used some form of complementary health approach.
- Citation: Barnes PM, Bloom B, Nahin R. CDC National Health Statistics Report #12. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults and Children: United States, 2007. December 10, 2008. (299KB PDF)
Complementary Health Approaches: Cost and Spending, 2007
- In 2007, U.S. adults spent $33.9 billion out-of-pocket on visits to complementary health practitioners and purchases of complementary health products, classes, and materials.
- Citation: Nahin, RL, Barnes PM, Stussman BJ, and Bloom B. Costs of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) and Frequency of Visits to CAM Practitioners: United States, 2007. National health statistics reports; no 18. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2009. (200KB PDF)
The 2002 NHIS gathered data from 31,044 completed interviews with U.S. adults age 18 years and over. The 2002 complementary health section of NHIS included questions on 27 types of complementary therapies commonly used in the United States. These included 10 types of provider-based therapies, such as acupuncture and chiropractic, and 17 other therapies that do not require a provider, such as natural products (herbs or botanical products), special diets, and megavitamin therapy.
Use of Complementary Health Approaches, 2002
- The 2002 NHIS survey found that approximately 36 percent of U.S. adults aged 18 years and over used some form of complementary health approach.
- Citation: Barnes P, Powell-Griner E, McFann K, Nahin R. CDC Advance Data Report #343. Complementary and Alternative Medicine Use Among Adults: United States, 2002. May 27, 2004. (536KB PDF)