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Frequency eating cheese: number of time units


CHEESENO is a 3-digit-numeric variable.

0: Never or less than 6 times per year
996: Not in Universe
997: Unknown-refused
998: Unknown-not ascertained
999: Unknown-don't know


For sample adults, CHEESENO reports how many times the respondent ate cheese in a specified time period. CHEESENO should be used in conjunction with CHEESETP, which reports the corresponding time unit stated by the respondent. For information about the portion size, see CHEESSIZ.

CHEESENO is part of a series of variables initiated in 1987 related to food, food knowledge, and cancer.


Prior to 2000, respondents were asked about foods they usually ate in the past year. Beginning in 2000, this recall period was reduced to foods the respondent usually ate in the past month. The structure of the responses beginning in 2000 excluding 2005 (recording number of times a food was consumed and the time unit associated with that frequency) makes it possible to compare response categories even with different recall periods. In 2005, this format of separate frequency and time units was not used; instead respondents' answers were organized into pre-defined categories. Researchers interested in using all years of available data may consider seeing the 2005 variable CHEESEMO, and modifying CHEESENO and CHEESETP to correspond to the pre-defined categories from 2005.

The types of cheese included differ slightly between survey years. All survey years other than 1992 specify that cheese includes cheese alone as well as mixed into or part of other dishes like casseroles. Prior to 2005, additional information about which types of cheese to include was classified by type of cheese (hard, soft, processed, cream cheese, low-fat or calorie reduced), and the question specified not to include cottage cheese. Beginning in 2005, these types of cheese were not specified. Additionally, In 2005 and 2010 cream cheese was no longer included as a cheese, and the definition specified that cheese included cheese as a snack or on burgers, sandwiches, or pizza. The survey question in 2010 informed respondents not to include cheese on pizza, however the field representative's manual states that cheese on pizza should be included. Other than these slight changes in what types of cheese are included, there are no comparability issues.

In 2015, respondents were asked to exclude cheese on pizza, and it is consistent with the field representative's manual, however, the field representative's manual does not specify whether cream cheese should be counted as cheese or not. Cheese in 2015 includes any kind of cheese, such as cheese as a snack, cheese on burgers, sandwiches, and cheese in foods such as lasagna, quesadillas or casseroles, but not on pizza.

Changes in survey design (e.g., quarters in which the supplement was collected) may affect raw frequencies, but do not affect comparability of the variable. As always, data users should use the prescribed IPUMS NHIS weights.


  • 1987: Half of sample persons age 18+ (excluded from CACT supplement).
  • 1992: Half of sample persons age 18+ in quarters 1 and 2 and in 2 weeks of quarter 3 (excluded from CACT supplement).
  • 2010; 2015: Sample adults age 18+.


  • 1987, 1992, 2010, 2015