APH 1999, 57, 325-341:

Health survey Mechelen 1996.

K. Van Bulck, J. Mertens, A. Alwan, and H. De Vriendt

Keywords: none

Problem: In 1992 the town of Mechelen decided to become one of Belgium's two "Healthy cities". which implied that a systematic municipal Health Policy Plan had to be worked out. With a view to accomplishing this plan, the town of Mechelen ordered the Provincial Institute for Hygiene (PIH) to extend its standard provincial health survey to a representative sample of the town of Mechelen. In future, this survey will be repeated regularly, in order that changes in the state of public health be recorded, and, health policy adapted to these changes.

Method: The questionnaires and interview techniques used in these surveys are based on those in the Health Survey of the province of Antwerp, itself based on the survey carried out in the Netherlands, which was co-ordinated by the Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics (CBS). The Mechelen survey was carried out in a randomly drawn sample of 791 families, obtained from the State Register address file of a total of 31,822 addresses (families). The interview period was from 1 August 1995 tilt 31 January 1996. Four questionnaires (A, B, C, D) were used: questionnaire A concemed eneral data B was intended for persons 15 years and above, C for persons under 15 and D also for persons 15 years and above. The first three questionnaires were answered orally, the last one had to be filled out by the respondents themselves. The questionnaire as a whole, focused on medical consumption, mental well-being, lifestyle and preventive behaviour.

Results: The total response for the 791 addresses was 57.9% (458 families) and covers 1,075 individuals. We generally obtained results which were poorer than those for the entire province of Antwerp. For almost 12% of the inhabitants of Mechelen (against 10% in Antwerp) there is a high degree of certainty that psychological support is required. Besides the state of public health, medical consumption and lifestyle, as well as preventive behaviour were measured in this health survey. The general conclusion is that the socio-economic stratification (SES) still influences the state of public health strongly, in Mechelen as well as in the province of Antwerp as a whole.