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York researchers lend expertise to Ontario Health Study

York researchers lend expertise to Ontario Health Study

Five researchers from York University's Faculty of Health are lending their expertise to the Ontario Health Study as it rolls out an online survey and a series of mini clinics on the Keele campus and in the York-TD Community Engagement Centre in the Yorkgate Mall.

Right: As part of their involvement with the Ontario Health Study, researchers will take physical measures such as blood pressure during a series of mini clinics that will be held this fall

One of the most ambitious community-based medical surveys ever conducted, the study will track the health of Ontario residents over the course of their lifetimes. A community health project, the Ontario Health Study is aimed at establishing the largest population-based longitudinal cohort study ever attempted in North America, and will be the first major epidemiological survey to be conducted online. 

The study will focus on identifying gene-environmental determinants of different chronic diseases, including cancer, asthma, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's, mental health disorders and more.

As part of York University’s involvement, researchers from the School of Kinesiology & Health Science and the psychology program will be holding mini clinics this fall to collect physical measures from volunteers from York University and its neighbouring communities. The mini-clinics will also provide a venue for the distribution of health information and health promotion materials. The York researchers involved in the study are:  

  • Professor Chris Ardern (Kinesiology & Health Science), whose research is focused on the epidemiology of physical activity, obesity and cardio metabolic risk. 
  • Professor Sherry Grace (Kinesiology & Health Science), a researcher specializing in cardiac psychology and the utilization of health services.
  • Professor Jennifer Kuk (Kinesiology & Health Science), whose research looks at obesity and related health risks (cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes) and the influence of physical activity using both exercise interventions and epidemiological approaches. |
  • Professor Jane Irvine (Psychology), a researcher whose work focuses on stress and cardiovascular disease, and modifying cardiovascular behaviour and psychosocial risk factors.
  • Professor Paul Ritvo (Kinesiology & Health Science), head of the Ritvo Lab and a researcher specializing in health behaviour change.

The questionnaire, which is completely voluntary, takes about 30 minutes to complete and will ask participants about their general health, genetic history and lifestyle. The study will then follow participants over their lifespan to determine how a variety of factors influence participants' health over a long period of time. The data collected will in turn help researchers develop strategies for the prevention and treatment of diseases, as well as to inform health-policy changes.

Irvine chairs the social health component of the survey and will work with Ritvo and Grace. Ardern and Kuk are leading the obesity and physical activity component of the survey. As part of their involvement with the study, the researchers will have access to the data collected.

More information on the clinics will be forthcoming. In the meantime, York community members interested in learning more about the study should visit the Ontario Health Study website.

Republished courtesy of YFile– York University’s daily e-bulletin.