2013-07-31 / Features

Borough Residents To Take Health Survey

BY RICHARD GENTILVISO

This summer 3,000 city residents in all five boroughs will be randomly selected to participate in the New York City Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, or NYC HANES.

Participants will answer questions about their health and take a brief physical exam that includes free lab tests and receive $100. The results are geared to provide an overall picture of the city’s health and the more who participate, the more correct that picture will be, said Elizabeth Snell, NYC HANES project manager and Sharon Perlman, NYC HANES project director, at the June 11 meeting of the Queens Borough Cabinet.

As a result of the first NYC HANES study conducted in 2004, examinations and lab results showed one in four adult New Yorkers had high blood pressure and high cholesterol with an elevated risk of heart disease and stroke and determined that food could be made healthier for the heart by eliminating unhealthy fats (artificial transfats) from restaurants.

In addition, after lab results from 2004 revealed that almost one in three New Yorkers with diabetes didn’t realize they had the disease and that of those diagnosed with diabetes, half didn’t have their blood sugar levels under adequate control, a program to help physicians and patients improve diabetes treatment was created.

Lab results from 2004 also showed that mercury levels in New Yorkers were three times higher than the national average leading to an effort to educate the public about the risk of dangerous levels of mercury found in certain fish and skin-lightening creams.

The survey, which starts in August will send letters to 3,000 randomly selected New Yorkers asking them to take a physical exam to determine their cholesterol level, whether or not they have diabetes and whether or not they’ve been exposed to lead or mercury. The survey and exam can be conducted in your home or at a clinic in Lower Manhattan. It is about two to three hours long.

Some results, like blood pressure and body mass index, will be provided on the spot while others will be mailed if normal. If there are any abnormalities, individuals will be contacted and referrals to free and low-cost care will be provided.

Since the random sampling method used does not allow for volunteers or recruits, only those receiving a letter can participate and cannot be replaced in the survey. In Queens, participants for the NYC HANES study will be randomly selected from Long Island City.

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