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Queens Chronicle

Health Department survey underway

Residents from 750 Queens homes randomly selected to participate

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Posted: Thursday, October 31, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 11:11 am, Thu Nov 7, 2013.

The doctor is in. It’s time for Queens’ decennial checkup.

The New York City Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, aimed at discovering the collective health of the city’s residents and determining ways to improve it, is underway and will continue through February 2014.

Adults from 3,000 randomly selected households across the five boroughs will be asked to answer survey questions about their health and undergo an in-home physical exam. Of those households, 750 of them are in Queens. Each individual will receive $100 in return for his or her participation in the survey and exam.

The citywide survey, last conducted in 2004, is being jointly conducted by the Health Department and the CUNY School of Public Health. School Dean Ayman El-Mohandes said in a statement that the examination is relatively easy and the survey will be extremely helpful in uncovering the health of the city.

“NYC HANES asks participants to take a brief physical exam and to provide blood, urine and saliva samples for lab tests to assess for common health conditions,” El-Mohandes said. “This allows us to gain critical new insights about overall health in New York City.”

While the findings of the 2004 survey did not provide borough-level findings, it provided insight into health issues facing many immigrant subgroups represented in Queens, according to the Health Department.

“The 2004 survey did identify key health issues ... including elevated mercury exposure due to fish consumption among Chinese immigrants, high rates of diabetes among South Asian immigrants,” an agency spokesperson said. “And heavy metal risks associated with using a particular skin-lightening cream among women from the Dominican Republic.”

The DOH also states that the survey is only offered in English, Spanish, Chinese and Russian but materials encouraging people to participate are translated into the 10 languages most commonly spoken in the city.

The survey is privately funded, mostly by the de Beaumont Foundation, and has been endorsed by Borough President Helen Marshall, City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria) and the Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens among others.

The $100 payment for participating in the survey is covered primarily by the de Beaumont Foundation as well. CEO Dr. James Sprague is excited to help improve public health via the survey.

“The de Beaumont Foundation is pleased to support the second NYC HANES,” Sprague said in a statement. “It is our hope that the results of this survey will inform public health programs and policies in New York City.”

Other DOH results from the first survey show that New York adults had been exposed to more second hand smoke than adults nationwide even though a smaller percentage of city residents smoke when compared to the national average.

In addition, tests for high blood pressure discovered that 40 percent of New Yorkers were at risk for heart disease and 30 percent of residents with diabetes didn’t realize they had the disease.

The survey and exam take between two and three hours and can be completed either at the individual’s home or at a central Manhattan location. There is no penalty for not participating.

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