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Cohort profile: the National Health Insurance Service-National Health Screening Cohort (NHIS-HEALS) in Korea
  1. Sang Cheol Seong1,
  2. Yeon-Yong Kim2,
  3. Sue K Park3,4,5,
  4. Young Ho Khang6,7,
  5. Hyeon Chang Kim8,
  6. Jong Heon Park2,
  7. Hee-Jin Kang2,
  8. Cheol-Ho Do2,
  9. Jong-Sun Song2,
  10. Eun-Joo Lee2,
  11. Seongjun Ha2,
  12. Soon Ae Shin9,
  13. Seung-Lyeal Jeong2
  1. 1National Health Insurance Service, Wonju, Korea
  2. 2Big Data Steering Department, National Health Insurance Service, Wonju, Korea
  3. 3Department of Preventive Medicine, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  4. 4Department of Biomedical Science, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  5. 5Cancer Research Institute, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  6. 6Department of Health Policy and Management, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  7. 7Institute of Health Policy and Management, Seoul National University Medical Research Center, Seoul, Korea
  8. 8Department of Preventive Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea
  9. 9Gwanak Branch, National Health Insurance Service, Seoul, Korea
  1. Correspondence to Seung-Lyeal Jeong; sljeong{at}


Purpose The National Health Insurance Service-Health Screening Cohort (NHIS-HEALS) is a cohort of participants who participated in health screening programmes provided by the NHIS in the Republic of Korea. The NHIS constructed the NHIS-HEALS cohort database in 2015. The purpose of this cohort is to offer relevant and useful data for health researchers, especially in the field of non-communicable diseases and health risk factors, and policy-maker.

Participants To construct the NHIS-HEALS database, a sample cohort was first selected from the 2002 and 2003 health screening participants, who were aged between 40 and 79 in 2002 and followed up through 2013. This cohort included 514 866 health screening participants who comprised a random selection of 10% of all health screening participants in 2002 and 2003.

Findings to date The age-standardised prevalence of anaemia, diabetes mellitus, hypertension, obesity, hypercholesterolaemia and abnormal urine protein were 9.8%, 8.2%, 35.6%, 2.7%, 14.2% and 2.0%, respectively. The age-standardised mortality rate for the first 2 years (through 2004) was 442.0 per 100 000 person-years, while the rate for 10 years (through 2012) was 865.9 per 100 000 person-years. The most common cause of death was malignant neoplasm in both sexes (364.1 per 100 000 person-years for men, 128.3 per 100 000 person-years for women).

Future plans This database can be used to study the risk factors of non-communicable diseases and dental health problems, which are important health issues that have not yet been fully investigated. The cohort will be maintained and continuously updated by the NHIS.

  • Cohort Studies
  • risk factors
  • National Health Programs
  • administrative claims

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  • Contributors SCS, SKP, YHK, HCK, SAS, S-LJ contributed to the conception of this article. YYK, JHP, C-HD, J-SS were involved in manuscript writing and revision. Y-YK, JHP, H-JK, E-JL, SH were involved in data analysis and interpretation. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

  • Funding This work was supported by National Health Insurance Service (NHIS) in Korea.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement The data can be accessed on the National Health Insurance Data Sharing Service homepage of the NHIS ( Applications to use the NHIS-HEALS data will be reviewed by the inquiry committee of research support and, once approved, raw data will be provided to the applicant with a fee. Although, the data are coded in English and numbers, not in Korean (Hangul), use of individual data is allowed only for Korean researchers at the moment, but it would be possible for researchers outside the country to gain access to the data by conducting a joint study with Korean researchers.

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