The third health check (3HC) aimed to obtain repeat measurements and to study cognition, physical functioning and eye health.
A pilot, known as the ‘EPIC-Norfolk 2004 Study’, was run from 2004 to 2006 with participants from Attleborough. The pilot study provided a valuable testing ground for a third health check and was used to identify areas of interest and methods of measurement in order to look at aspects of healthy ageing. The positive response to the pilot study contributed to the decision to embark on a full third health check.
The full 3HC ran from 2004 to 2011 and was attended by 8,623 participants. At the start of the 3HC the EPIC-Norfolk participants were aged 50-92. Collecting information on diseases and health endpoints of relevance to the older population allowed the study of how these may make people more prone to serious illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
Repeat assessments in this phase included a follow-up health and lifestyle questionnaire (HLQ), a food frequency questionnaire (FFQ), a 7-day diet diary (7dDD) and a physical activity questionnaire (PAQ).
Health Check Appointment
The same physical measures were collected as the 1HC and 2HC:
- waist circumference
- chest measurements
- blood pressure
- lung capacity
- heel-bone ultrasound
- percentage body fat
The participants also gave blood and urine samples again.
New assessments in this phase included:
- physical and cognitive function testing, to understand factors affecting healthy aging and quality of life
- eye examination using some of the latest technology in optic nerve and retinal photography. Looking in particular at glaucoma and age related macular degeneration, which are the two major causes of irreversible blindness in this country.
The average 3HC appointment lasted 2.5 hours, longer than both previous health checks.
Due to funding constraints the number of participants attending this health check was lower than previous phases. Participants not approached for the 3HC were prioritised at the beginning of the 4HC phase.