BR residents’ health to be surveyed

A survey team monitoring the health and nutritional status of the U.S. population is coming to East Baton Rouge Parish on Wednesday to begin interviews with local residents.

The team, from the National Center for Health Statistics, is looking for 440 residents who represent a variety in terms of age, race, gender, ethnic background and income.

The NCHS is part of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We’ll start knocking on doors tomorrow,” project spokeswoman Nora Martinello said Tuesday.

Team members will go to households to which letters have been randomly sent alerting them to the survey and asking them to participate, Martinello said. Those who volunteer will submit to a health interview in their homes followed by a health examination that takes place in one of three mobile examination centers, she said.

In Baton Rouge, the mobile centers will be on Pennington Biomedical Research Center’s campus off Perkins Road.

The team includes, among others, a physician, dentist, radiology technician and nutritionist

East Baton Rouge is one of 15 areas selected this year for the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, Martinello said. Avoyelles Parish also has been selected for this year’s work, she said. The team will be looking for 415 participants there, she said.

Surveys are already underway in two communities in California, Martinello said.

Each year, 5,000 residents across the nation participate in the survey. The results are used by public health officials, legislators and physicians to develop health policies, direct and design health programs and services, and expand the nation’s health care knowledge.

The survey findings provide information related to issues such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Participants are paid a cash stipend of up to $125 and also receive a medical report on findings of their health examination, Martinello said.

No medical care is provided in the exam centers. The various tests and procedures performed depend on the age and gender of the participant.

All information collected in the survey is kept strictly confidential and privacy is protected by public law.