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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention plans survey in Lee County

Walter Littrell • Jan 28, 2008 at 12:00 AM

JONESVILLE — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be conducting a health and nutrition survey in Lee County this spring.

The National Center for Health Statistics will set up its base in Jonesville next to Town Hall and will select subjects at random for the survey, said Mayor Beryle Greer.

The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey is a program of studies designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States. The survey is unique in that it combines interviews and physical examinations. The program began in the early 1960s and has been conducted as a series of surveys focusing on different population groups or health topics.

In 1999, the survey became a continuous program that has a changing focus on a variety of health and nutrition measurements to meet emerging needs. The survey examines a nationally representative sample of about 5,000 persons each year. These persons are located in counties across the country, 15 of which are visited each year.

The interview includes demographic, socioeconomic, dietary and health-related questions. The examination component consists of medical, dental and physiological measurements, as well as laboratory tests administered by highly trained medical personnel.

Findings from this survey will be used to determine the prevalence of major diseases and risk factors for diseases. Information will be used to assess nutritional status and its association with health promotion and disease prevention. Findings are also the basis for national standards for such measurements as height, weight and blood pressure.

Data from this survey will be used in epidemiological studies and health sciences research, which help develop sound public health policy, direct and design health programs and services, and expand the health knowledge for the nation.

Data will be collected on the prevalence of chronic conditions in the population, and estimates for previously undiagnosed conditions, as well as those known to and reported by respondents, are produced through the survey.

Health interviews are conducted in respondents’ homes. Health measurements will be performed from specially designed and equipped mobile centers, which will be located in Jonesville. The study team consists of a physician, medical and health technicians, as well as dietary and health interviewers.

An advanced computer system using high-end servers, desktop PCs and wide area networking collect and process all of the data, nearly eliminating the need for paper forms and manual coding operations. The system allows interviewers to use notebook computers with electronic pens. The staff at the mobile center can automatically transmit data into data bases through such devices as digital scales and stadiometers.

Touch-sensitive computer screens let respondents enter their own responses to certain sensitive questions in complete privacy. Survey information will be available to staff within 24 hours of collection.

Households in the study area will receive a letter from the National Center for Health Statistics director to introduce the survey.

Transportation will be provided to and from the mobile center if necessary, and participants will receive compensation and a report of medical findings. All information collected in the survey is kept strictly confidential.

Greer said the center plans to set up the mobile units in Cumberland Bowl Park on March 3 and will conduct the survey through June 4.

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