In a Health Examination Survey (HES) objective health information is collected among a representative sample of the total population, including those who have no contact with health services. The collection of objective health measures at population level is particularly important for items that are often not accurately reported in a health interview survey (e.g. height and weight) and for diseases that may be present without any symptoms but have important health consequences (e.g. high blood pressure or high cholesterol level in the blood). The data from HES are essential for solid health policy development based on the population’s needs.
In 2018 the sixth Belgian Health Interview Survey (HIS) was organised by Sciensano. Information on the health status, lifestyle, health care use and socio-demographic characteristics were collected among a representative sample of 11.300 people residing in Belgium. From March 1st 2018 onwards, eligible HIS participants were invited to participate also in a HES. Respondents were eligible if they are at least 18 years and had participated in the HIS themselves (no proxy interview). About 1.100 respondents agreed to participate; they were visited at home by a trained nurse.
The HES included a short additional questionnaire, a physical examination and the collection of a blood sample. The physical examination consisted of the measurement of height, weight, waist circumference and blood pressure. Laboratory blood analyses included the measurement of glucose and cholesterol in the blood. The results were transferred to Sciensano in a coded way, ensuring that participants could not be identified. Through a unique identification code it is possible to link the HES data with information from the same people that was obtained in the HIS.
The procedure for obtaining the HIS data is initially done by completing the electronic application form.
There are 2 possibilities:
- If you only request variables that are included in the codebook of the anonymous database of the HES, the data transfer process will then be quite short and you only need to sign a data transfer agreement.
- If, on the other hand, your request requires a link to another database or concerns variables that are not included in this codebook (date of birth, detailed information on nationality or country of birth, detailed geographical data), you must submit an application to the Information Security Cottee (ISC).
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