Cutline:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has parked four semi trailers that make up its mobile exam center in the Baptist Hospital parking lot on Strickland Dr. The CDC will have a presence there through January as it targets specific neighborhoods and participants to take part in a national health and diet survey.

RECORD PHOTO: Dave Rogers

 

Dave Rogers

For The Record

 

A volunteer prepares for a bone density scan Monday at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) mobile exam center at the Baptist Hospital parking lot.
RECORD PHOTO: Dave Rogers

Orange County is getting national recognition of an odd kind.

In return, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) – best known for fighting infectious diseases – has been getting notice in Orange County for its four CDC branded semi trailers parked in front of Baptist Hospital – Orange.

But the doctors, lab workers, and imaging technicians are here because Orange County was chosen as one of 15 counties in the nation to take part in the CDC’s annual National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (NHANES).

A total of 503 randomly selected area residents will have the invitation-only opportunity to participate.

“NHANES goes into communities to collect health information throughout the country,” Charles Rothwell, director of the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, said in a news release.

“Without this survey, we would lack important knowledge about major health conditions.”

The data collected in NHANES will help determine the number of people in the United States who have a range of health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and other maladies.

Among other things, the health information is used to construct growth charts for pediatricians to follow a baby’s growth and development, determine the number of persons in the United States who have high blood pressure and high cholesterol and to evaluate the diets of all U.S. residents.

The four semi trailers, interconnected and staffed by a team of health professionals, nutritionists and health technicians, are scheduled to remain located at 602 Strickland Dr., through January.

They opened to the first respondent exams Tuesday, but the people behind NHANES have been in the area for several weeks, said George Dixon, study manager.

The process started with in-home health interviews.

“Our field reps knock on doors all over the county and ask demographic questions,” Dixon said.

Data recorded includes age, race, gender and general income level of all persons in the household. A computer algorithm randomly selects some, all, or none of the household members.

“About 70 percent screen out,” Dixon said. “Thirty percent are invited to the exam center.”

At the exam center, all participants visit a doctor. Dietary interviews and body measurements are included for everyone.

All but the youngest have a blood sample taken and see the center’s dentist. Hearing is tested. A scan is done to test bone density and a liver ultrasound is performed.

The estimated total cost of the tests administered in the mobile center is more than $4,000 but participants selected are not charged; they are paid up to $125, Dixon said.

The diseases, medical conditions and health indicators to be studied include: anemia, body composition, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, environmental exposures, infectious diseases, kidney diseases, nutrition, obesity, oral health, physical activity, reproductive history and respiratory diseases.

No treatment is provided by the CDC. Instead, referrals are given. Blood test results will be available to participants in five to six weeks.

All the test results and survey results are confidential, Dixon said.

“We don’t share our personal information with anybody,” he said.