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Child is limited in things other children do

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For sample children age 17 and under, CHLIMIT reports parents' responses to the question, "Is [sample child] limited or prevented in any way in [his/her] ability to do the things most children of the same age can do?" The 2002 Field Representative's Manual instructed interviewers:

Limited refers to a person's ability to only partially perform a specific activity, perform that activity only part of the time, or not perform that activity at all. The term limited should NOT be defined to the respondent. If asked for a definition, emphasize that we are interested in whether the respondent thinks the person is limited in the specific activity or not.
Data Collection 

CHLIMIT was part of the Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN) Supplement included in the Sample Child Health Care Access and Utilization section of the NHIS. Before beginning this part of the survey, interviewers read the following statement:

The next questions are about any kind of health problems, concerns, or conditions that may affect [sample child]'s behavior, learning, growth, or physical development. Some of these health problems may affect [sample child]'s abilities and activities at school or play. Some of these problems may affect the kind or amount of services needed or used.
These questions are for research purposes and may be similar to questions you have previously heard.

The question for CHLIMIT was the first item in the section of the CSHCN dealing with "Functional Limitations." Respondents who answered "yes" to CHLIMIT received the follow-up question, "Is this because of any medical, behavioral or other health condition?" (CHLIMITHC). Persons with a "yes" response in CHLIMITHC received an additional follow-up question, "Is this a condition that has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12 months?" (CHLIMITYR).

Purpose of Inquiry 

The 2002 Field Representative's Manual provides the following information regarding the purpose of the CSHCN Supplement:

The purpose of the Children With Special Health Care Needs Supplement is to provide prevalence estimates for this population (those who require special health care needs). The results will have great value for policy makers, epidemiologists, health service researchers, and other groups in the child health community. This set of questions includes inquiries about health problems, concerns, or conditions that may affect things like:
  • Behavior
  • Learning
  • Growth or physical development
  • Abilities and activities at school or play
  • The kind or amount of services needed or used

According to the 2002 Survey Description, the CSHCN Supplement was included in the NHIS "to compare the results of a face-to-face in-home interview as conducted by the NHIS with a random digit dial telephone interview as conducted by NCHS's State and Local Area Integrated Telephone Survey (SLAITS)." The Survey Description also noted that the special needs questions included in the 2001 SLAITS and 2002 NHIS were taken from a standardized screener developed by the Foundation for Accountability (FACCT). The Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative (CAHMI), in collaboration with FACCT, provides further information on this screener on their website at, including scoring procedures used to identify children with special health care needs.

Related Variables

For more information on the other CSHCN Supplement items and for scoring procedures, see CHNEEDRX. Children with affirmative responses in the three variables CHLIMIT, CHLIMITHC, and CHLIMITYR satisfied the criteria for children with special health care needs in the domain "functional limitations" (a "yes" value in the IPUMS NHIS-created variable SPNEEDLIM).


CHLIMIT only occurs in 2002.


  • 2002: Sample children under age 18.


  • 2002