St. Clair County residents who are selected to take part in a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey can help shape the future of healthcare in the United States.
We talked to study manager Jacque DeMatteis about the survey.
Q: What is the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey?
A: “It’s basically the health equivalent of the census. We gather information about the health of the United States.”
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Q: Why is the survey important?
A: “Because we can provide information and data about all the the individuals that live in this country so that all of the researchers, physicians, hospitals and doctors, the counties, the states, the federal government can sit down and make good health assessments.”
Q: How was St. Clair County chosen as one of the locations for the survey to be conducted?
A: “We select 15 counties every year. Basically when you put all those counties together, they kind of look like a picture of the United States...When we put our piece in that’s St. Clair that completes our picture.”
Q: How long will the NHANES surveyors be in the area?
A: “We started with our field operation with people going to households. We started that over the weekend, and then we will be here until June 28. Every surveyor that comes in the area will be wearing an identification (badge).”
Q: How many residents will be part of the survey?
A: “Its a couple thousand households that are census addresses, that’s how we select them. We will go to households until we get about 550, 600 people that are selected; not everybody gets selected. We go to many households and maybe no one gets selected.”
Q: How many St. Clair County residents surveyed will be provided health exams?
A: “We are hoping to see coming through the exam, through the trailers (at St. Clair Square Mall in Fairview Heights) — 400. Our initial goal was a little lower, but we will hopefully include 400 from here.”
Q: What does the exam entail?
A: “Its basically age related. Little babies come in; we weigh and measure them. They provide data for our growth charts that the pediatricians use. As you get a little bit older, we do a little bit more, which would include a dental exam, a body scan which most people would never get they get here, the weights and measures, they will do a recall of what they ate in a 24-hour period, because that all kind of loops together with the data we collect. We also do a hearing exam. We do a phlebotomy (blood draw) from those that a willing. All of that information provides the data that our researches use.”
Q: Why is it important for someone selected to take part in the exam?
A: “We can’t go to every single household in the United States. It would be impossible and cost prohibitive. Every person that we select here is representing about 65,000 people that match their demographics — your age, gender, race. If we select somebody and they say ‘oh, I can’t do it, I’m busy, whatever,’ we can’t go pick somebody else. Once somebody’s selected they’re selected. If we miss their data, it’s missing data. Everybody who comes to do an exam will get the results of their exam, and the value of that if you had to pay for it through your own laboratories and so forth would be about $4,000. Those results get mailed to you.”
Q: Are participants compensated?
A: “Because we are asking people to give us their time, there is a little bit of an incentive. It’s up to $125 for an adult, and we also provide or pay for transportation to come here (to the mall in Fairview Heights).
Q: When will results from the survey be available?
A: “The data that we collect is continually released. Usually it starts coming out about a year — nine months to a year — then in increments after that.”