Pike Countains to be selected for Health Survey

Published 9:34 pm Friday, March 18, 2011

Four hundred Pike County residents will be selected to participate in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which is the most comprehensive study of the health and nutritional status of the United States population. The survey got underway in Pike County on Thursday.

“NHANES is a valuable tool for developing effective health policies and programs and it’s also an opportunity to gain information about one’s health,” said Nora Martinello, senior study manager Centers for Disease Control NHANES.

“Each year, about 7,000 randomly-selected residents in 15 counties across the nation have the opportunity to participate in the latest National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey which is conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics.”

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In the coming weeks, survey conductors will be knocking on doors all across Pike County and will continue knocking until 400 residents are selected for the survey.

“The residents of the household will be questioned and some members of the household could qualify for the study and others might not,” Martinello said. “For example, if we are looking for a person 60 years or older and no one in that age range lives in the house, then nobody would qualify.”

Participation in the study is voluntary and Martinello said Pike County has 22,000 households so finding 400 participants should not be a problem.

“And, there are benefits to participation,” she said. “The participants who complete the survey screening, interviews, measurements and exams can receive up to $125,” she said. “We also provide a transportation allowance. Also any medical findings are made available to the participants and that could mean as much as $4,500 in free testing.”

All participants receive an examination by a physician, as well as dietary interview and body measurements that include height and weight. Some will be eligible for a hearing test, a scan to evaluate body fat and a breathing test, as well as a blood pressure test. The various tests and procedures depend on the age of the participant.

“NHANES serves as the nation’s ‘health check-up’ going into communities to get health information throughout the country. The survey is a unique resource for health information. Without it, important knowledge about major health conditions would be lacking,” Martinello said.

The information gathered by NHANES is used by public health officials, legislators and physicians to develop sound health policies, direct and design health programs and services and expand the health knowledge for the nation. In addition, NHANES data is used to create standardized growth charts used by pediatricians across the country to track children’s growth.