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Sebring Plays Host to CDCs National Center for Health Statistics

The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the Center for Disease Control (CDE) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) randomly selected Highlands County, Fla., as a survey location to generate important data on the health conditions and concerns of residents in the area.

To assist the data collection efforts and to provide a location for examinations, Sebring International Raceway provided a secured location on the Raceway grounds for the four specially designed medical trailers which are linked together to form a single unit. These trailers are connected to the Raceway‘s water, power and telecommunications — including broadband — for approximately two months.

While the survey itself began last November, the examination process at the Raceway started in early January and will continue through mid-February.

For more than 60 years, National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys (NHANES) have been conducted in various segments of the U.S. population.  A sample of approximately 650 Highland County residents will be invited to participate in the survey, where pre-selected households will be asked to complete a short questionnaire about members of their household.

Approximately 20 people per day are examined in the Mobile Examination Center at the Raceway.

The NHANES is the most in-depth survey designed to evaluate the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States. This survey combines information from interviews and physical examinations. The first NHANES program began in the early 1960s. Since 1999, the survey has examined about 5,000 people in 15 different counties across the country each year. The NHANES sample is selected to represent the entire U.S. population. NHANES data are needed to understand and improve health in the United States.

NHANES plays a critical role in:

  • Determining the prevalence and risk factors of major diseases
  • Assessing the nutritional status and its association with health promotion and disease prevention
  • Serving as the basis for national standards for measurements such as height, weight, and blood pressure
  • Identifying the prevalence of undiagnosed diseases such as diabetes

“While we traditionally focus on providing entertainment and automotive industry advancement, we also seek ways to use our facilities and assets to help important community initiatives, particularly in the area of health,” said Wayne Estes, president and general manager of Sebring International Raceway.  “If the last couple of years taught us anything, we learned the importance of disease prevention and treatment.  We appreciate the opportunity for Highlands County residents to take part in this important health initiative.”

Survey content NHANES includes are demographic, socioeconomic, dietary and health questions. NHANES looks at different risk factors such as a person‘s lifestyle, physical characteristics, heredity, or environment that may increase the chances of developing a certain disease or condition.

The survey studies obesity, diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol, nutrition and dietary intake, as well as smoking, alcohol consumption, sexual practices, drug use, physical fitness and activity, and other factors critical to health. The examination consists of medical and physical measurements and laboratory tests performed by highly trained medical personnel. Body measurements are included for everyone and blood pressure is measured for those 8 years and older. All but the very young have a blood sample drawn. Additional examinations such as a body composition scan and liver ultrasound are given depending on the age of the participant.