National Health Survey

A National Health Survey has been carried out regularly across the country by the Scientific Institute for Public Health since 1997. This type of survey was conducted in 1997, 2001, 2004, 2008 and 2013 (survey ongoing)

This survey is funded by the Federal State, the Regions and Communities. For the Brussels region, funding for this survey is provided out of the Observatory's operational budget.

A large oversample for the Brussels region provides data from over 3,000 residents in each of these surveys (a total of 11-12,000 persons for the whole of the country).

Individuals are selected randomly (any household on the National Registry can be approached for the survey) and asked to complete both a written questionnaire and a "face-to-face" questionnaire, on various aspects of their state of health and the effects of health problems on their daily lives. Questions also focus on the use of different care services, preventive medicine, consumption of medicinal drugs, and access to care for the various socio-economic groups that make up the population. A series of questions also focuses on lifestyle in relation to health, such as physical exercise, diet and the consumption of alcohol, drugs and tobacco.

This survey is one of the main information sources on the state of health of the general population aged over 15 years and on some key determinants of health. It is also one of the few sources that provide a link between a person's social status and their health. This makes it a valuable tool for monitoring the link between health and social inequalities in the Brussels region.

The Scientific Institute for Public Health posts these survey findings on an interactive public website, which also allows certain cross-referenced analyses. (

The Health and Social Observatory also disposes of complete databases, enabling it to produce the most detailed analyses.

Data from the Health survey are predominantly used in the Health profiles, but also in ongoing work monitoring the state of health.

Specific research (only available in French) has also been carried out in order to verify how representative the 2001 health survey is compared to the 2001 general socio-economic survey.

The Health and Social Observatory participates in the National Health Survey scientific committee and the partners' commission as technical representative for the Brussels region.

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