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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Thursday, May 27, 2004 (212) 788-5290; (212) 764-7667


Physical Examinations and Laboratory Tests will Make New York the First City in the United States Where Community-Specific Health Status Is Known

NEW YORK CITY - May 27, 2004 - A new survey, the first ever to measure information on critical health conditions in New York City, was announced today at a press conference by Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Thomas R. Frieden and federal health officials.

The New York City Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NYC HANES) uses the best health assessments - medical examinations, face-to-face interviews, computer-assisted surveys, and laboratory tests - to capture information never before available on the health of New Yorkers. NYC HANES will measure a broad range of health information, including many conditions that, to date, have only been measured by self-report. These conditions include diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Additionally, the use of computer-assisted, in-person surveys will provide previously unavailable information about risky sexual behavior, alcohol and drug use, depression, reproductive health, nutrition and exercise.

Joining Dr. Frieden for the announcement was Edward Sondik, Ph.D., Director of the National Center on Health Statistics at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). NYC HANES is modeled after CDC's national survey (NHANES), which has provided key health information about the nation's health for 35 years.

"NYC HANES will provide us with information never before available here," said Commissioner Frieden. "Beginning this week, trained Health Department staff will knock on the doors of pre-selected households throughout the five boroughs to meet face-to- face with approximately 2,000 New Yorkers to evaluate their health. The results of this survey will tell us about the health of all New Yorkers. We are grateful for the tremendous support from the CDC. This survey will make us more equipped than ever to develop new and proven initiatives to help make New York City healthier than ever."

Dr. Edward Sondik said, "This is an unprecedented effort. For more than 30 years, CDC has conducted this survey nationally to inform health policy, and we are extremely pleased that New York City is the first community anywhere in the United States that has taken the initiative to replicate it locally. We expect this pioneering effort to yield critical information. We applaud New York City for conducting this survey and are delighted to be able to support you in this effort."

What NYC HANES Will Tell Us

As outlined in Take Care New York - the health policy initiative for New York City - NYC HANES will gather vital baseline information to present the most comprehensive picture of our City's health. NYC HANES, using CDC's national model, relies upon a combination of the best health assessments for each health issue:

· NYC HANES will determine and allow us to improve what New Yorkers know and do about their own health. NYC HANES will indicate, for the first time ever, what proportion of New Yorkers with conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes are aware of their condition, how many are on treatment, and which groups have their condition adequately controlled.

· NYC HANES employs medical testing. Through physical examinations, HANES will offer a definitive picture of New Yorkers' blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes. In a self-reported survey, 450,000 New Yorkers report having diabetes. However, national estimates suggest that many more New Yorkers have undiagnosed diabetes. NYC HANES will identify the actual level of diabetes among New Yorkers as well as groups that are at risk but don't know it.

· NYC HANES will help us better understand and combat the obesity epidemic. Using physical exams to measure height, weight, waist circumference and other key measures, coupled with direct interviews on diet and physical activity, HANES will offer insight into the risk factors for those groups at highest risk for overweight and obesity, one of New York City's and the nation's fastest growing epidemics.

· NYC HANES uses confidential survey methods for sensitive issues. HANES uses a confidential, computer-assisted survey to gather a more comprehensive picture of health topics that people may feel uncomfortable sharing with another person, such as drug use and sexual activity.

· NYC HANES will provide valuable insight into keeping a healthy home. Testing will determine the extent of mercury and other environmental poisonings, including those related to household pesticides.

· NYC HANES will present an accurate measurement of the impact of common and debilitating diseases. HANES will give an accurate measure of how many New Yorkers suffer from depression.

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