July 13, 2006
Contact: Tom Capezzuto
Phone: (973) 972-3000
UMDNJ Study Shows NJ Residents Need More Exercise,
--Study Published in July/August Issue
of American Journal of Health Promotion--
NEWARK — Garden State residents are likely to monitor their blood pressure and use seat belts with regularity, but less inclined to exercise, maintain dietary control and have immunizations, according to the results of a statewide survey conducted by a researcher at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey who helped create the nations first Health Wellness Promotion Act in 2000.
The telephone survey, conducted with 1,246 New Jersey adult residents, determined that 88 percent tested their blood pressure regularly, 82 percent wore seat belts when driving, but respondents did not receive comprehensive annual health screenings, said Dr. Donald B. Louria, professor and chair emeritus of the Department of Preventive Medicine and Community Health at the UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School in Newark, who conducted the survey with Dr. Amiram M. Sheffet.
In the survey, 79 percent obtained recommended PAP screenings, but only 64 percent followed mammogram recommendations and 66 percent of those over age 65 received annual immunizations. A mere 34 and 28 percent, respectively, received proper screenings for bowel cancer or osteoporosis.
The results of the Baseline Behavioral Assessment of the New Jersey Health Wellness Promotion Act are published in the July/August 2006 issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion.
Dr. Louria helped conceive the nation’s first Health Wellness Promotion Act, which became state law in November 2000, as a health promotion and disease prevention program designed to improve the health of New Jerseyans over age 20. The Act, based on the Healthful Life Program developed by Dr. Louria, consists of 17 health promotion and disease prevention tests and self-administered exams designed to maximize life spans of New Jerseyans. It provides for regular comprehensive prevention examinations that must be covered by all participating HMOs, other managed care organizations, and health insurers under contract with the state, which covers about five million New Jerseyans.
Age was positively associated with receiving the majority of tests. Half the people surveyed indicated that they were overweight or obese, only one-quarter engaged in regular exercise and another one-quarter admitted they smoked cigarettes.
"It is abundantly clear that people in New Jersey, in general, are not getting comprehensive prevention examinations on a regular basis," Dr. Louria said. "The results of this study issue a clear challenge to our state's medical and nursing communities as well as our elected officials, that more must be done to improve access to care."
He noted that receipt of appropriate screening tests and adoption of health-promoting behaviors fell short of desired goals. Although having health insurance increased usage rates, as did procedure specific reminders, this was not enough to achieve desired usage goals, Dr. Louria said.
UMDNJ is the nations largest free-standing public health sciences university with more than 5,500 students attending the states three medical schools, its only dental school, a graduate school of biomedical sciences, a school of health related professions, a school of nursing and its only school of public health, on five campuses. Last year, there were more than two million patient visits to UMDNJ facilities and faculty on campuses in Newark, New Brunswick/Piscataway, Scotch Plains, Camden and Stratford. UMDNJ operates University Hospital, a Level 1 Trauma Center in Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare, a mental health and addiction services network.