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Maternal or other adult proxy reports of child health and health care utilization are used in many health surveys, such as the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS). Other studies such as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) complement data collected at medical examinations by using maternal interviews to collect retrospective health histories for children in the sample. Information on health behaviors, such as breastfeeding or parental smoking, also are typically collected from maternal reports.

Medical records are another common source of information on health care utilization, diagnoses and treatments for both children and adults. Diagnostic codes on medical records are frequently used to estimate disease incidence and prevalence.