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National health diagnostic to select locals

Randomly picked Newport and Costa Mesa residents will be asked to complete health tests, for which they may be compensated.

October 20, 2007|By Sue Thoensen

The Center for Disease Control’s “health exam center on wheels,” will roll into Orange County next week to begin a comprehensive study of the health and nutritional status of randomly selected area residents.

Orange County was one of 15 counties in the nation selected by the CDC to conduct its National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, and households in Newport Beach and Costa Mesa will be asked to participate in the nine-week program that begins Nov. 15.

Nora Martinello, senior study manager for the CDC, said more than 700 individuals in the county were mailed forms notifying them that they had been selected for the survey, and should expect a field interviewer to be knocking on their door any time from Oct. 26 onward.

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Interviewers will ask specific screening and demographic questions, including how many people live in their location, what their gender and age are, and with which ethnicities they identify.

People who meet the sampling criteria would be asked to complete a longer questionnaire on health and nutrition, covering things like diet, what they might be exposed to in their environment, family medical history and what they do as their occupation.

Once individuals are selected, they would be required to spend a maximum of four hours one day undergoing specific medical tests in the center’s mobile examination center.

Martinello expects approximately 380 people to be tested, with tests geared to specific health and nutritional issues based on the participant’s age.

The exam center uses “high-tech, state-of-the-art equipment,” to gather data for research purposes.

Adults and children will be given tests to determine their height, weight, blood pressure, vision and hearing.

Adults older than age of 40 will also be tested for macular degeneration, which hinders vision.

Lab work could include blood tests and a body scan, which would help track the performance of certain diseases including osteoporosis, diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol levels and obesity.

The level of lead in children’s blood is a “hot item in the study,” Martinello said, so all children older than 1 will be tested to determine those levels.

Data obtained from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey in the 1970s confirmed that children were suffering from lead poisoning and resulted in getting lead removed from gasoline and paint, Martinello said.

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