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 ask about places where people live, how they live, their emotions, and the health care they receive to learn more about life in Wisconsin.

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.

Who is invited to participate?

In earlier phases, we randomly selected households from counties, towns and cities all across the state to participate in SHOW. We invited all eligible household members (adults and children) to participate in the survey.

Participation is voluntary, and SHOW takes many steps to protect participants’ personal information.

At this stage, SHOW is only completing follow-up with people who have previously completed the study. SHOW is not currently recruiting new participants.

What is included in the study?

The SHOW survey consists of four parts.

  1. Phone Interview
    Staff will ask health questions and record answers on a computer.
  2. Self-Administered Questionnaire
    This part is completed on your own time and can be taken on paper or electronically.
  3. In-Person Sample Collection Appointment
    For this step, you will visit a nearby site to provide samples and complete in-person measurements and a cognitive assessment.
    At this appointment, SHOW staff will go through the informed consent process, collect samples (blood, stool, urine, hair), ask questions, and take physical measurements (blood pressure, heart rate, weight, and measurements of height, hips, and waist), and have you complete some questions on a computer.
  4. Activity Monitoring
    You will be provided with small devices called accelerometers to wear on your wrist and hips for eight days to measure physical activity, rest, and sleep.
    After 8 days, mail these back to SHOW to have your participation marked ‘complete’.

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.

What can I receive for participation?

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
    • This is dependent on study completion
  • Payment for your travel and childcare costs
  • Free health test results:
    • Weight
    • Height
    • Blood Pressure
  • Free blood test results, including:
    • Cholesterol
    • Glucose Levels
    • Hemoglobin
    • White Blood Cell Counts

Why should I participate?

SHOW’s research is only possible with participation by people like you. Thank you!

By participating, you significantly contribute to the prevention of diseases and the discovery of new treatments. You can learn more about some of the findings from this work on our Findings and News page.

Contact us by:

Phone: 608-890-3840
Toll-free: 888-433-7469
Fax: 608-890-3844



Survey of the Health of Wisconsin
Medical Sciences Center, Room 1083
1300 University Ave.
Madison, WI 53706

SHOW field staff measuring a child's height.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why was I contacted?

SHOW is currently conducting follow-up interviews with past participants. We are reaching out by mail and by phone to share information and schedule interview appointments.

I’ve never participated in SHOW. Why are you calling me?

We are only trying to reach past participants at this time. We may be trying to reach a household or family member who provided your phone number for contact some years ago. Please call us at 608-890-3840, or reach us toll-free at 888-433-7469, and we will update our information.

What is involved in these follow-up interviews?

For 2022, SHOW participation will consist of a telephone interview and a visit to a community site.  Participation in all components will take about 2.5 hours.  Participants will receive up to $150 in appreciation for their time.

I would like to participate in SHOW.  How can I volunteer?.

Thank you for your interest, however, at this time, we are only able to include past participants. 

How can I update my contact information?

Please call us at 608-890-3840, reach us toll-free at 888-433-7469, or email us at