The CDC will be in Moffat County for six weeks beginning in May to collect data from volunteers for the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.
Dr. Kathryn Porter of the Center for Disease Control said 800 letters will be sent out today in the agency's search for 350 volunteers who will consent to a series of examinations. The CDC selects 15 counties each year that offer a comparable statistical view of the United States as a whole and then randomly collects data from residents.
Porter visited The Memorial Hospital Tuesday and gave a presentation concerning the research.
"The question we are looking for an answer to is: What is the health of America?" Porter said. "The data allows us to describe the awareness, treatment and control of selected diseases.
"This will be an extensive survey with a lot of information. In this study we are looking at all age groups in every state and the District of Columbia. We will also be gathering the first national data on fitness levels."
The first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) was conducted in 1960, and the surveys have continually been performed in every decade since. A mobile examination station will be parked at the Holiday Inn of Craig beginning May 15.
Interviewers will visit residents selected to participate in the survey at their home on April 24. Porter said the interviews would determine if a household is statistically appropriate for the study not all who receive a letter will be asked to participate. If a household is selected, family members are asked to consent to series of examinations. Those that agree to participate will be paid $100 and compensated for any travel costs. They will also receive the results of their examination and any referrals related to any health issue discovered during the exams.
Survey Manager Robert Cueller said results of the NHANES project have significant impacts on the country.
"These surveys have a tremendous impact (on people's health) nationally and locally," he said. "From the information we've collected in past surveys, we've seen the elimination of lead in gasoline and paint which is connected to neurological problems; we have growth charts that can inform parents how their children are developing, we now have the fortification of foods and for the first time we have seen a decrease in spinabifida and other birth defects.
"The information gathered leads to many, many benefits."
The participants generally share information about health issues with immediate and extended family and friends, causing a "ripple effect" in the community regarding health issues and information, Cueller said.
"Our aim is three fold: to positively impact the health of the ill, to maintain the health of healthy, and to improve, through research, the chance of a healthy lifestyle for future generations," he said.
The data will be processed at the CDC research data center in Hyattsville, Md., and will be available for use in 2004. Health care providers can visit the Maryland center and gather data specific to their communities once the data is released in 2004, Porter said.
The chance to have this sort of information collected about Moffat County residents is an important event, according to Marilyn Bouldin, executive director of the Visiting Nurse Association.
"This survey will give us critical information about the status of our health," she said. "It's also important information that helps us plan how to offer the appropriate services. It's a wonderful opportunity to have a comprehensive health assessment at no cost that (participants) will get paid for."
An open house will be held at the mobile examination on May 15.
For more information about the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, call 824-5551.