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Chronic status of limiting first unclassified problem for adults

Codes and Frequencies

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For persons age 18+ who have at least one activity limitation (LANY), and for whom a first problem, not listed on the interviewer-provided flashcard and not one of the other categories available to interviewers for purposes of classifying conditions, was reported as a condition causing any activity limitation (CLIMANEC1), CLIMANEC1C reports whether the condition status was chronic. A "not elsewhere classified" condition was coded as chronic by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) if it had lasted at least 3 months.

Definition of chronic condition
For the most part, conditions that have lasted 3 months or longer (or were diagnosed at least 3 months prior to the interview) are classified as "chronic" in the National Health Interview Survey. Those conditions that have lasted less than three months are generally considered "not chronic" (or acute). However, some conditions are considered "chronic" by definition, regardless of the length of time since diagnosis.


As the NHIS Survey Descriptions for 2002 forward explain:

Conditions that are generally not cured, once acquired ... such as heart disease, diabetes, and birth defects ... are considered chronic, while ... other conditions must have been present for three months or longer to be considered chronic.

Correspondence with the NCHS staff provided the further information that the following conditions are considered chronic regardless of the amount of time the person had the condition: arthritis/rheumatism; birth defect; cancer; diabetes; heart problem; hypertension; missing limb or finger; old age; mental retardation; senility; stroke; ADD/ADHD; epilepsy; learning disability; and other developmental problem. These "instant chronic" conditions might be treated and may not cause problems, but they do not actually disappear with time, as might be the case for other conditions, such as a bone fracture.


The variable is completely comparable over time.


  • 1997-2013; 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018: Persons age 18+ limited due to unclassified impairment or problem.


  • 1997-2018