National health survey team arrives in Valley

By Peter H. Milliken


A national health survey that forms the scientific basis for public health policy is setting up shop in a cluster of four trailers at Southern Park Mall.

The study is the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“This county [Mahoning County] is one of 15 counties across the USA that have been chosen this year to measure America’s health,” explained Jenni Echols, study manager.

“This is an exciting opportunity for individuals who are selected to learn more about their health and to benefit America’s health into the future,” she added.

This is the first time in the 55-year history of the study that Mahoning County is included.

The study measures long-term trends pertaining to ailments, such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

“This is the first opportunity that Mahoning County residents have had to participate in a study that informs national health policy,” said Patricia Sweeney, county health commissioner. “For the first time, our health status – how we live, how we grow, how we eat, how we play – our health is being studied and informing policy on a national level.”

“It’s all done by random computer selection” of participants, she added.

The survey’s field staff arrived here Thursday. Study team members in vehicles bearing the CDC logo have been on the road familiarizing themselves with this area, Echols said.

The team has a field administration office in the mall and four trailers outside, where physical examinations of study participants will occur.

The trailers, interconnected by enclosed walkways, will be readied over the next two weeks, including hooking up electric, water and sanitary sewer utilities to them, Echols said.

Beginning Monday, CDC mailed letters to chosen participants. Interviews at participants’ homes will begin Saturday.

Interviewers will carry CDC photo identification badges.

Anyone who wants to confirm the validity of an interviewer’s credentials should call the study’s mall office at 330-787-9785, Echols said.

“The home interview is an initial screening interview,” Echols said.

Physical examinations of 330 county residents in the trailers will begin June 15 and end Aug. 2.

Participants will get a free and confidential health and nutrition evaluation.

Residents of Youngstown, Canfield, Poland, Struthers, Campbell, Lowellville and New Middletown have been selected to participate in the survey.

Some 5,000 people nationally will participate in the study, with participants paid up to $125 for their time and travel expenses, CDC said.

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