HOW much do you drink? Do you drive to work or take the bus?
Are you able to find daycare for your kids? What's causing you stress?
Inquiring minds at Vancouver Coastal Health want to know.
The health authority is conducting a survey of North Shore residents that aims to take a snapshot of some of the underlying determinants of our community's health.
The idea is to get detailed local information about both the socio-economic and behavioural factors that can influence health or chronic disease, says Jat Sandhu, regional director of Vancouver Coastal Health's public health surveillance unit. The survey is a recognition that health includes much more than visits to the doctor or hospital stays for acute problems, said Sandhu.
"We have a responsibility to promote health in our community," he said.
Until now, the health authority has relied on information from the Canadian community health survey, supplied by the province's vital statistics branch, to get an idea of what's influencing the health of the region. But that survey draws from a much wider geographic area and uses a much smaller sample size than the current project, said Sandhu.
To conduct the latest survey, field researchers - including high school student volunteers - have fanned out into community centres, transportation hubs and other places where people tend to gather. Sandhu said researchers are hoping the field interviewers will be able to get information from visible minorities, non-English speakers and those who are at work during the day - groups who are typically under-represented in traditional phone surveys.
Among other questions, residents will be asked to rate their general health, comment on exercise, sleep and diet, plus address larger socio-economic questions like what kind of home they live in, whether they use facilities like recreation centres and parks and whether they feel safe in their neighbourhoods.
The survey also includes specific questions on issues like playgrounds and daycare arrangements. That's part of a plan to
gain information on how successful the North Shore has been at becoming child and family friendly, said Dr. Brian O'Connor, chief medical health officer for the North Shore.
"We've often heard talk of accessibility and affordability of daycare," he said. "We have children who live in poverty on the North Shore."
Those problems aren't always solvable locally, said O'Connor, but sometimes knowing what the issues are can help local governments direct their services and policies to groups in need.
The survey is expected to cost between $8 and $10 per participant, said Sandhu. Researchers are hoping to get 5,000 responses by Dec. 16, when the survey ends. The information it gathers will be shared with local governments, including municipalities and school districts.
Anyone interested in completing the survey can also find it online at vch.ca/northshoresurvey.