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Codes and Frequencies

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Among persons aged 3+ who needed help with their personal care needs due to a physical, mental, or emotional problem (LADL) or persons in the 1994-95 National Health Interview Survey-Disability Survey (NHIS-D) Phase I sample age 5+, LAEAT identifies those who specifically needed "the help of other persons with eating." In the Field Representative's Manuals for 1997 forward, personal care needs, including eating, were referred to as "activities of daily living (ADLs)."


In 1994 and 1995, this variable is part of the Disability Supplement (NHIS-D) that collects information on disability. NHIS-D included two household interviews: in Phase I all members of sample families were screened for any indication of disability; in Phase II persons with any indication of disability were followed-up for additional information. Phase I includes sensory, communication, and mobility problems; health conditions; activities of daily living and independent activities of daily living; functional limitations; mental health; services and benefits; special health needs of children; early child development; education; relationship to respondent; and perceived disability. Phase II includes four Disability Followback Survey (DFS) questionnaires: one for children, one for adults, one for elderly persons (69 years of age and over) without any indication of disability (also called the Supplement on Aging or SOA; only in 1994), and one for persons with a history of polio.

The Manuals for 1997 forward defined "help" as "hands-on" assistance with performing an activity." The Manuals also stated, "An 'other person' may be a friend, relative, paid helper, volunteer from an agency or organization or anyone else who helps the family member in doing the activities mentioned. He or she may be a household member or a non-household member."

Related variables identify persons needing help with other activities of daily living, including bathing or showering (LABATH), dressing (LADRESS), getting around inside the home (LAHOME), getting in or out of bed or chairs (LABED), and using the toilet (LATOILT).


The universe changed over time, with differences in the age of persons included and whether the universe was limited to individuals who previously indicated a limitation in activities of daily living (any) or a specific difficulty with eating. Please refer to the universe tab for more information.


  • 1979-1980: Persons who need from other persons in eating.
  • 1991: Sample persons age 18+ who have difficulty eating and sample persons age 5 to 17.
  • 1994-1995: Persons in the NHIS-D Phase I sample aged 5 years and older.
  • 1997-2018: Persons age 3+ who needed help with activities of daily living (ADLs).


  • 1979-1980, 1991, 1994-1995, 1997-2018