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New York City Seal
Press Release
New York City Department of Health
Office of Public Affairs
CONTACT: Sandra Mullin/Greg Butler
Friday, June 7, 2002
(212) 788-5290
(877) 640-1347


Survey to Ask 10,000 New Yorkers About Health and Risk Factors

New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH, announced today that the Department of Health (DOH) is conducting a comprehensive health survey of 10,000 randomly selected New Yorkers in every City neighborhood. In terms of both size and scope, this is the first-ever health survey of this scope to be done in New York City. Its purpose is to provide information about the risk factors and health problems affecting communities at a neighborhood-level and to use this information to help direct efforts to improve health.

The anonymous and confidential telephone survey began at the end of May and will be completed at the end of June. The results will be analyzed and released at the end of the year. The survey includes questions about risk behaviors (e.g. smoking, diet, exercise), diseases and conditions (e.g., asthma, diabetes, depression), and preventive care (e.g. blood pressure screenings, mammograms, colon cancer screenings). The survey will be repeated periodically in the coming years and will allow the Department of Health to monitor changes in disease patterns over time, and to evaluate the efficacy of public health programs.

Dr. Frieden said, "Individual doctors monitor the vital signs of patients. The Health Department, with this unparalleled survey, is substantially improving its monitoring of the vital signs of every community in the City. The information we collect will document today's burden of disease, and will determine the effectiveness of our public health interventions now and in the years to come."

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been conducting behavioral risk factor surveys in all states since 1994. However, the number of interviews from New York City residents have not allowed for neighborhood-specific estimates. The survey will provide us with this critical information, and will also address a broad range of issues pertaining to New York City," added Farzad Mostashari, MD, MSPH, an Assistant Commissioner at the DOH and the Principal Investigator.

The survey is being conducted in cooperation with the Baruch School of Public Affairs. Interviewers will conduct interviews in English, Spanish, Haitian Creole, Russian, Polish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Greek and Yiddish. The survey should take an average of 15 minutes. The results, which are expected to be released before the end of the year, will be available on the DOH web site and will be widely disseminated to government agencies, elected officials, universities, health care and community organizations, and interested city residents.