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Health Department and CUNY School of Public Health Launch NYC Health and Nutrition Examination Survey

October 16, 2013 | Featured

October 16, 2013 – The New York City Health Department and the CUNY School of Public Health today announced that they are conducting the second New York City Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NYC HANES). From now until early next year, adults from 3,000 randomly selected NYC households will be asked to answer survey questions and take a physical exam that will provide a picture of the city’s health almost 10 years after the first NYC HANES. Funded by the de Beaumont Foundation, the survey enables researchers to examine changes in New Yorkers’ health over two points in time and assess the impact of several health policies that have occurred since 2004.

“NYC HANES helps us get a better look at how New Yorkers are doing and determine ways we can improve the city’s health,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley. “For example, ten years ago, blood tests in NYC HANES showed that New Yorkers were breathing in more second-hand smoke than elsewhere in the country. In part because of these results, the City’s parks, beaches and hospital entrances are now smoke-free. An updated NYC HANES will allow us to gain critical insights about overall health in New York City and will directly set directions for public health for the next decade.”

“Unlike many health surveys, which are based entirely on self-report, 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. This allows us to gain critical new insights about overall health in New York City,” said Ayman A.E. El-Mohandes, MD, MPH, the new dean of the CUNY School of Public Health, which is conducting the NYC HANES 2013 survey in partnership with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. “It’s also why the participation of those selected is so critical to the success of NYC HANES. Our rigorous statistical methods have ensured that those selected to participate in this survey represent New York City’s six million adult residents. And by comparing the new findings to those from 2004, we can analyze more objectively how the health of New Yorkers has changed over the past decade.”

Modeled after the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey conducted by the CDC, NYC HANES gives public health professionals and elected officials the information they need to develop and fund new health programs, introduce new health regulations or laws and educate the public about increasing health risks. The Health Department conducted the first NYC HANES in 2004. Through a detailed health survey and a brief physical exam, NYC HANES collected data from nearly 2,000 New Yorkers.

“The de Beaumont Foundation is pleased to support the second NYC HANES,” said James B. Sprague, MD, Chairman and CEO of the de Beaumont Foundation. “It is our hope that the results of this survey will inform public health programs and policies in New York City and, ultimately, provide insight into effective practices that can be replicated in other cities.”

“I am proud of Hunter’s role in this important study that has the potential to shape policy and improve the lives of so many New Yorkers,” said Jennifer J. Raab, President of Hunter College. “We continue to support this effort because of the good that comes from it, allowing scientific research to have a positive impact on the city we call home.”

“Keeping New Yorkers healthy is fundamental to good quality of life,” said Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney [NY-12]. “Participation in the NYC HANES gives us a better understanding of the chronic health conditions that some City residents face. In the past, NYC HANES has also led to improvements in diabetes management and more smoke-free zones. The findings from this health survey help inform policymakers at all levels of government.”

“This survey is an opportunity for Upper East Siders and New Yorkers in all parts of the city to help make our city a healthier place and I encourage everyone who has an opportunity to participate to do so,” said Council Member Jessica Lappin.

“I am grateful that the CUNY School of Public Health and the New York City Department of Health have instituted this program, which will help identify health problems in our City,” said Staten Island Borough President James P. Molinaro. “This year, they have made the program easy for Staten Islanders to be a part of by bringing the program into their homes at a time that is convenient for them. I encourage Borough residents who have been selected to participate, thus helping our City’s officials identify health trends and develop appropriate prevention and treatment responses.”

“The Orthodox Union is encouraging New York City residents to participate in NYC HANES,” said Rabbi Judah Isaacs, Director of Community Engagement at the Orthodox Union. “As evidenced by the recent UJA Federation of NY Jewish Community Study, the Orthodox Jewish population in New York continues to grow, and participation in the study will help ensure that the Orthodox Jewish population is represented as part of the overall sample of New Yorkers. Responding to NYC HANES will have a direct impact on the quality of life for all New Yorkers, and we encourage everyone selected for participation to say ‘yes.’”

“The team comes to you and pays you to do a check up,” said Morris Park resident Elsie Picciano, one of 150 New Yorkers who already have completed the survey. “The interviewer was absolutely marvelous. They made my experience hassle-free! I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to do it.”

Researchers used data from the first NYC HANES in 2004 to learn more about how many New Yorkers have health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and depression and how well these conditions are controlled. They have also learned about environmental exposures, including second-hand tobacco smoke, lead and mercury. Findings from the study have led to changes in New York City laws and regulations as well as educational campaigns to improve the health of New Yorkers. As one example, the Health Department was able to discover nearly 40% of all NYC adults were at high risk for heart disease because of their blood pressure or cholesterol levels, which supported the Health Department’s efforts to eliminate artificial trans fats from restaurants and implement the National Salt Reduction Initiative to reduce the salt content in processed foods.

The Health Department and CUNY selected more than 100 neighborhoods across the five boroughs and will send invitations to 3,000 adults randomly selected based on the address of their households asking them to participate. Trained staff will follow-up with a visit to these households and randomly select one or two adults to participate. The Health Department and CUNY have solicited support from government officials, the faith community and health organizations to encourage participation. A complete list can be found here.

New Yorkers who agree to participate in NYC HANES will receive $100 for 2-3 hours of their time. They can complete the survey in their own homes or at a Manhattan location. Appointments can be scheduled at their convenience, including evening and weekend hours. Survey materials are translated into Spanish, Chinese and Russian.

Support for NYC HANES is primarily provided by the de Beaumont Foundation with additional support from Robin Hood, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the New York State Health Foundation and Quest Diagnostics.

For more information about NYC HANES 2013, visit www.nychanes.org.