Health & Family

Mecklenburg site of federal health survey

Mecklenburg County residents will be chosen randomly to get free physical exams in this mobile unit as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey on the health of the U.S. population. Exams will begin May 2, after interviews by representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Mecklenburg County residents will be chosen randomly to get free physical exams in this mobile unit as part of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey on the health of the U.S. population. Exams will begin May 2, after interviews by representatives from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Starting Saturday, a crew of 15 federal government representatives will spread out across Mecklenburg County, knocking on doors to talk with people, young and old, about their health.

It’s part of the annual National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which produces data regularly used by health professionals across the country.

This year, Mecklenburg is one of 15 counties chosen by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for the survey, which runs through June 6. Nationally, about 5,000 people will be interviewed, including about 500 in Mecklenburg.

The survey “touches everyone in some fashion…if they’ve had their blood pressure taken, been tested for high cholesterol, diabetes and osteoporosis,” said Nora Martinello, senior study manager for the CDC. “The growth charts we create are used nationally by pediatricians.”

After the initial, confidential interviews, residents will get appointments for physical examinations, starting May 2 at a mobile examination center on the campus of UNC Charlotte.

Participants are chosen at random to fit an algorithm that provides for representation of various age, income, racial and ethnic groups.

“If the algorithm calls for an elderly Hispanic male and (the surveyor comes to the house of) a young white female, we’re going to say ‘Bye’ to that person,” said Tatiana Nwankwo, also with the CDC. “Then we’ll knock on doors until we get that elderly Hispanic male.…We go to more houses than the actual number (of people) we examine.”

All surveyors will carry badges with pictures that identify them as part of the CDC survey, Martinello said. Each participants will receive a cash stipend, up to $125 based on age, and a copy of the exam results, valued at $4,000 for an adult. Details: www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhanes.htm

Garloch: 704-358-5078

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