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Local residents to be surveyed monthly on health

SIMCOE, ON, APRIL 28, 2010 – Beginning in May, residents of Haldimand and Norfolk counties will be surveyed every month throughout 2010 to help identify local health needs and develop programming for the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit.

“These surveys will help us better target our programming to the specific needs of the residents of our two counties,” explained Health Unit Epidemiologist Deanna Morris. “We’ve recently subscribed to the Rapid Risk Factor Surveillance System (RRFSS), which allows us to conduct these surveys. Each month’s survey will give us timely information on local public health needs.”

York University’s Institute for Social Research will conduct the surveys on the Health Unit’s behalf by randomly selecting 120 local residents each month, 18 years and older. Those residents will be notified by mail of their opportunity to participate in the survey and then phoned about a week later to take the survey.

The survey takes about 20 minutes. If an interviewer calls and you don’t have the time available, an appointment can be made for a more convenient day and time. If you don’t wish to answer a question, let the interviewer know and he or she will go to the next question.

Questions cover lifestyle behaviours that may impact residents’ health and the health of their families, and deal with matters such as alcohol use, injuries, parenting, chronic diseases, flu immunization, body mass index, emergency preparedness, nutrition, media use, sun safety, tobacco use, pap smears, safe water and general health.

The RRFSS survey was piloted in Durham Region in 1999 with funding from Health Canada, Cancer Care Ontario and the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The goal of RRFSS surveys is to gather current information on health trends and concerns for each Health Unit jurisdiction in Ontario.

“We are really encouraging area residents to participate in these ongoing health information surveys because their input will have a major impact on the nature, quality and delivery of local health services,” Morris explained. “We need to learn more about the behaviours of Haldimand’s and Norfolk’s adult populations so that health promotion and disease prevention programs can be effectively implemented.”

She also noted that the surveys are exempt from the new national “do not call” phone list, so even people on the no-call list could get phoned. For more information about the surveys, visit the Health Unit website at www.hnhu.org. Survey results will also be listed on the website as they become available.

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Media contact: Deanna Morris, Ext. 3215 at either 519-426-6170 or 905-318-6623