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Major health survey coming to Airdrie

Residents of Airdrie and several nearby communities will soon be participating in the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS).
Airdrie residents will take part in the Canadian Health Measures Survey beginning Nov. 13. This vehicle will be used by Statistic Canada as a mobile health testing centre.
Airdrie residents will take part in the Canadian Health Measures Survey beginning Nov. 13. This vehicle will be used by Statistic Canada as a mobile health testing centre.

Residents of Airdrie and several nearby communities will soon be participating in the Canadian Health Measures Survey (CHMS).

“The CHMS is the most extensive national survey on physical health measures ever conducted in the country,” said Wes Smiderle, of the Physical Health Measures Division of Statistics Canada.

“The results will capture a broad portrait of the health of Canadians by gathering baseline data on a variety of concerns, including cardiovascular health, nutritional status, chronic and infectious diseases as well as environmental contaminants.”

Starting Nov. 13, Statistics Canada interviewers will begin visiting randomly-selected households to conduct interviews. After taking part in the interview, participants will visit the CHMS mobile clinic, which will be located in the parking lot of Calgary Stampede Park from early December until the third week of January 2011.

The survey will take physical health measures from a sample of 6,300 Canadians ages three to 79 in 18 sites across the country over two years. During the course of collection, the survey will visit sites in Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia.

The purpose of the CHMS is to address longstanding gaps within Canada’s health surveillance system.

Policy makers, provincial health departments, researchers and health professionals from many fields have expressed a need for a national, comprehensive source of accurate health measures to assist them in addressing the health needs of Canadians.

Dr. Richard Musto, medical officer of health at Alberta Health Services - Calgary Zone, encouraged all selected residents to participate in the survey.

“This is an excellent opportunity for the citizens of Calgary, Airdrie, Chestermere and other selected communities to contribute to a health survey that will influence health policy across the country,” said Dr. Musto.

“The results of the CHMS will serve as a valuable resource for public health agencies. The residents who participate in this survey will also benefit by learning more about their own health.”

The CHMS will gather information from about 375 selected residents mainly drawn from Calgary, Airdrie and Chestermere, with a few from other nearby communities. During household interviews, Statistics Canada interviewers will ask general questions on health (diet, medical history, health status) and lifestyle.

Then, at the mobile clinic, qualified health professionals will take direct physical measurements, including height, weight, blood pressure and pulmonary capacity. Participants will also take certain tests assessing their physical condition. Blood and urine samples will be collected to test for cardiovascular health, nutritional status, chronic and infectious diseases as well as environmental contaminants.

Only the selected residents can participate in the survey. Those who choose to do so will receive a report on their physical measurements and tests and the results of their laboratory tests.

“The combination of interviews and physical measurements will produce more accurate statistics about the general health of Canadians than have ever been available before,” said Jeanine Bustros, director of Statistics Canada’s Physical Health Measures Division.

“The data will help in establishing maximum permissible levels for various substances, such as environmental contaminants, that for now are often established based on American studies.”

Data from the survey’s second cycle will be released starting in 2012. Additional information on the CHMS is available at www.statcan.gc.ca/chms


Airdrie City View Staff

About the Author: Airdrie City View Staff

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