The Survey of the Health of Wisconsin (SHOW) is a one of a kind research program at the University of Wisconsin. We collect information from Wisconsin residents about their health. 

We also ask about places where people live, how they live, the health care they receive, and feelings to know about life in Wisconsin. We also measure health status. We do this to help answer questions about different aspects of health. We want to find out why some people are healthy and others are sick. We also want to learn about factors that affect health such as diet, stress, water you drink or air you breathe. The goal of our research is to gather data to make new discoveries, paint a picture of health and inform programs to improve health in Wisconsin and across the nation.

Why participate?

SHOW’s research is only possible with participation by people like you. Thank you! Your help is greatly appreciated. By participating, you significantly contribute to the progress and advancement in preventing disease and novel disease treatment.

Who is invited to participate and what to expect

We randomly select households from counties, towns and cities all across the state to participate in SHOW. We invite all eligible household members (adults and children) to participate in the survey; however, your participation is voluntary. If you participate, SHOW takes many steps to protect your personal information.

In 2017, SHOW began follow-up visits to gather information about how health and factors that affect health changes over time. We also wanted to invite children of past households to SHOW. Over 800 individuals volunteered to repeat the study.

If you receive an invitation letter or postcard in the mail, it means your household has been randomly chosen to take part in the study. SHOW staff in your community will come to your home to tell you more about the study and ask if you are willing to participate. You may contact SHOW by phone or email if you do not want to participate. You can also contact us if you want to set up a time for SHOW staff to come to your home.

A woman prepares to have her blood drawn

What is included in the study?

The SHOW survey consists of four parts.

Part 1: in-home interview

  • Staff will ask you health questions and record your answers on a computer.
  • Staff will take physical measurements, including blood pressure, heart rate, height and weight, measurement of hip and waist, and breathing function.

Part 2: self-administered questionnaire booklet

  • This part is completed on your own.

Part 3: activity monitoring

  • You will be provided with small devices called accelerometers to wear on your wrist and hip for eight days to measure physical activity, rest and sleep.

Part 4: samples

  • You will visit a nearby site to provide blood and urine samples. We may ask for stool or other samples to examine the microbiome.

Note: Children (or their parent) are asked to complete a shorter questionnaire, some physical measures and to wear an activity monitoring device on their wrist and/or hip for eight days.

Benefits of participating

By giving your time, you will help us learn about the health of Wisconsin residents. With this information, we can build programs to improve the health of Wisconsin communities in the future.

In addition you will receive:

  • payment for your time if you complete the study
  • payment for your travel and childcare costs
  • free health test results. We will provide you with information about your weight, height, blood pressure and results from blood tests, including cholesterol and glucose levels, hemoglobin, hematocrit and white blood cell counts. We will let you know if any of these tests are outside the normal range.