The aim of the first health check (1HC) was to collect general information on health, diet and anthropometry.
The 1HC ran between March 1993 and May 1998. Invitations were sent to all 40-79 year olds registered with the collaborating GPs. Of the 77,630 people approached 30,455 returned the consent form indicating that they wished to join the study and 25,639 participants attended an appointment.
The information collected at the 1HC is also known as the baseline information.
Prior to the appointment, participants completed a consent form and a health and lifestyle questionnaire (HLQ), which asked about their medical history, lifestyle and other known risk factors, such as smoking and alcohol intake. In addition, they were asked to complete a twenty-four hour dietary recall (24hDR) questionnaire, recalling what they had eaten in the last 24 hours.
They were then sent a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) with their health check appointment.
During the health check, participants received a 7-day diet diary (7dDD). A nurse explained the purpose of the 7dDD and completed a 24 hour diet recall to provide guidance on how to complete the 7dDD. This ensured good quality of recording by the participant for the remaining 6 days. The nurses received specific training in dietary survey methods to ensure that participants recorded their diet accurately, and that nurses were not ‘judgmental’ about food intake. The 7dDD was completed by 25,525 participants, to a very high standard, with some people even including food recipes and packaging.
Health Check Appointment
At the 1HC appointment, the participant was seen by one of seven nurses who had been carefully trained to adhere to the EPIC protocol.
The nurse recorded:
- waist circumference
- hip measurements
- chest measurements
- blood pressure
- lung capacity
- lifestyle information about smoking, alcohol and exercise
The participants also gave blood and urine samples.
Regular calibration exercises were undertaken by nurses and coordinators to ensure accuracy of study equipment and consistency of data collection methods.
All the results from the health check, including blood pressure and cholesterol levels, were sent to the participant’s GP, who was responsible for any further clinical follow-up and/or treatment.