Statistics Canada is rolling into town with two special mobile clinic trailers, where 350 randomly selected Ottawa area residents will be interviewed, weighed, pinched with calipers and tested for chronic, infectious and environmental illnesses.
It’s all part of the Canadian Health Measures Survey, the most comprehensive study of Canadians’ health ever undertaken. In the first cycle, 5,600 Canadians were interviewed and tested. In this second cycle, they hope 5,700 will participate.
“We will be visiting 16 places like this in Canada in the next two years to collect key information relevant to the health of Canadians,” said Jeanine Boustros, director of StatsCan’s physical health measures division.
The process begins with home interviews, where participants are quizzed on a variety of health factors, including nutrition, smoking, and alcohol intake.
The next stage is a visit to one of StatsCan’s mobile clinics for physical measurements, fitness assessments, and blood and urine samples to test for heart health, infectious disease and environmental contaminants. These tests take two or three hours. Once the tests are done and samples taken, participants are sent home with two devices.
The first is a physical activity monitor, to be worn on a belt during waking hours for seven days. It measures physical activity patterns and body movements, including swimming (it’s waterproof).
The second is an indoor air sampler, a small cylinder that measures substances like benzene, methane and ethanol in household air.
Boustros said she’s pleased so far with the co-operation of participants.