State health officials want to tackle cardiovascular disease. But first, they are calling Kansans in for a check-up.
"This will give us a better picture of what's going on with cardiovascular illness in the general population," said Sharon Watson, spokeswoman for the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
Kansas is one of three states in the nation to receive a $496,000 Centers for Disease Control grant to survey primarily black and Hispanic residents about their health.
The $496,000 grant pays for a two-year project to survey residents and develop ways to combat heart disease, stroke and other forms of cardiovascular disease in the state.
"It is the No. 1 cause of death," said Paula Marmet, director of KDHE's office of health promotion.
More than 8,000 Kansans die each year from cardiovascular disease.
In 2001, Kansas' heart disease death rate was slightly above the national average, with 248.5 per 100,000 in Kansas compared with 245.8 per 100,000 nationally, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Blacks in Kansas had the highest rate of death due to heart disease and stroke, according to the CDC report.
Poor nutrition, inactivity, obesity, smoking and high blood pressure are considered top risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Officials will survey 700 blacks, 700 Hispanics and 700 people of other races.
The project includes telephone and mail-in surveys and clinical exams. Kansas University is working with KDHE on the project, which will cover 20 counties, including Douglas.
The state has launched its "Healthy Kansas" initiative, which focuses on health insurance coverage and cheaper prescription drugs.
There are multiple ways officials gather health information. The CDC coordinates the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, an ongoing phone survey tracking health conditions and risk factors. The state collects health data, but not necessarily in the detail that the current survey will have.
The study will gather height, weight, blood pressure and information about risk factors such as smoking and diabetes.