So I just signed up for the Ontario Health Study, a province-wide longitudinal study of the population’s health, spanning their entire life. They are trying to understand what lifestyles cause chronic disease and how to prevent/treat them. Every year, they send you a questionnaire to fill out about the state of your health and your lifestyle, from smoking exposure to eating habits and fitness level, and that’s how they’ll track the population. As someone with a degree in science, I am completely willing to be a part of this, and encourage everyone who lives in Ontario to take part as well, because I understand how hard it is to get a solid population sample, and how much work a longitudinal study really is, and how important the findings will be in understanding disease at all ages and lifestyles.
By participating as a study subject, I am only required to fill out the questionnaire once a year, and I get to have a shwack of cool tests done for free that normally would be quite expensive, such as an ECG, lung function, DEXA scan (!!!!!) and more. For those who don’t know what a DEXA (Duel Energy X-ray Absorptiometry) scan is, it’s a full body xray that shows your body composition very accurately, AND it’s not only body fat and muscle, but bone density too (actually it’s mainly used to determine bone density in the clinical setting). The print out kinda looks like an MRI, but it’s your entire body, and it shows by the different shades of black/grey/white where your fat, muscle and bone are and their densities. How cool is that?! Normally such a test would run you at least two hundred and fifty bucks, so to get it done for free is freakin’ sweet.