National health study coming to Garfield County

Starting this week, the National Center for Health Statistics will select 412 Garfield County residents to participate in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

Garfield is one of 15 U.S. counties selected this year to participate in the annual survey, which combines health information from about 7,000 U.S. residents in order to build child-growth charts, develop health policies and programs, and form statistics about everything from obesity to prevalence of diseases. The names of the other counties are not being released anywhere but in those counties.

All individual information is kept private, according to Nora Martinello, senior study manager for the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

“What’s not important to us is who (participants) are. They don’t have to give us a name. What’s important is who they represent,” Martinello said.

Each person in the study can represent up to 60,000 people of the same race, gender, or age. Survey workers select counties for the survey based on census data, so they can get a diverse group of participants, and workers began going door-to-door Sunday to screen residents from around Garfield County to see if they are eligible to participate in the study.

Once enough people agree to participate, the door knocking will end, and participants will be asked to fill out a survey detailing their medical history, family medical background, what medicines and supplements they take, what they eat and what they do for a living.

The week of Aug. 8, Garfield County survey participants will start the second and final part of the survey, which is a health examination. A physician, a dentist, nutritionists and health and laboratory technicians will conduct the exams in a mobile exam center made out of four connected trailers that will be stationed in the Glenwood Meadows Shopping Center parking lot in Glenwood Springs. Two of the trailers already are stationed there.

Tests performed during the exams depend on a person’s age, Martinello said, but the average adult gets results from more than 100 blood tests. Each participant will get a brief report on his or her health before leaving the exam center and will receive full personal results in the mail about 12 weeks later, Martinello said.

“About $4,900 worth of testing is performed for the average adult, plus we pay them to come to our center,” she said.

Each participant gets up to $125 in compensation for traveling to the center, and each person gets a cash “thank you” for sharing health and medical information with the survey.

Survey employees will leave Garfield County on Sept. 12. The results of the survey will appear in nationwide data next year.


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