National Health Survey Shifts Focus To Include Broader Hispanic Population
The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a federally funded ongoing research effort that is collecting a broad data set on the nation's health, has shifted its focus to include a wider variety of Hispanic populations, the Miami Herald reports. The study, which began in the 1960s, examines about 5,000 individuals annually though a series of diagnostic tests and personal interviews. The data enables researchers to assess national averages and allows them to examine health factors as they relate to race, gender and ethnicity over time. In previous years, researchers from the study focused on recruiting a survey population that included one-third blacks, one-third Mexican Americans and one-third of the rest of the population; however, beginning this year researchers will recruit one-third non-Hispanic blacks, one-third Hispanics and one-third of the rest of the population. "The shift is part of a larger trend of health researchers paying more attention to Hispanics in America -- and recognizing that there may be variations within the Hispanic community itself," according to the Herald. Data that distinguishes between different groups of Hispanics -- such as Puerto Rican, Cuban, Mexican American, and South and Central Americans -- "remains scarce," the Herald reports. Researchers will begin recruiting individuals in Hispanic communities in Miami by going door-to-door and also will set up a mobile clinic on the main campus of Florida International University to conduct physical examinations. At the conclusion of the study in February, researchers expect to have visited about 1,000 households to recruit 300 Hispanics, NHANES spokesperson Nora Martinello said. According to Kathryn Porter, a survey leader, it will be several years before quality data is available on health trends of different Hispanic groups (Goldstein, Miami Herald, 1/12).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.