Horry County one of 15 counties in the U.S. chosen for national health survey

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HORRY COUNTY, SC (WBTW) – Ever wonder how the average weight is calculated for a person your height? Or what dimensions are considered when making clothing sizes? Horry County is one of 15 counties selected to participate in data collection that represents everyday life, nationwide.

The National Health and Nutrition Exam Survey is the most comprehensive survey of the U.S. population and will start surveying participants on Friday. “We want an overall picture of the health of this county,” Susan King, study manager, said.

The mobile examination center is based in Conway but collects data that will represent the nation. “We need the public’s help to get that data to the people who make the decisions about where medical research money goes,” King said.  

This national survey has a long history of improving the health and nutrition of our country. Forty years ago it was this survey that removed lead from gasoline and paint. 

“That’s when we saw there was too much lead in the blood of children and of course we know how that can affect their development. Folic acids were added to breads and cereal because we saw women of childbearing years did not have enough,” King said.

The data collected goes to multiple uses including information that government agencies often use for financial purposes or to bring new health programs to communities.
Horry County residents may be randomly selected over the next month to participate in this survey. Representatives from the CDC choose 24 areas within Horry County and then select 30 to 60 addresses to knock on their door and ask them to participate in the study.

If a representative knocks on your door, they may ask basic questions gathering how many live in the home, genders, ages, race or ethnicity. The data is generated into a computer system to do an algorithm and choose participants.

Adult participants will receive 12-13 evaluations, some involving body measurements, blood pressure, oral care, dietary interviews discussing food quality and portions, and a balance test.

If someone learns they have high blood pressure while volunteering in medical lab medical experts will give them a local referral. “We don’t diagnose or treat people here at the mobile center but we also don’t leave people high and dry either. If west something we will help take care of it,” King said.

NHANES medical experts from the CDC hope to survey at least 400 people. Those who agree to volunteer for the survey will be compensated for their time.

Experts say all medical information collected stays confidential. Participants will be evaluated at the mobile exam lab in Conway through March 11th.

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