Newcastle University students health tests at AgQuip

CHECK UP: Rachel Latter plays patient as Sarah McDermott uses a spectrophotometer to take pictures of her skin to see how much fruit and veg she's been eating.
CHECK UP: Rachel Latter plays patient as Sarah McDermott uses a spectrophotometer to take pictures of her skin to see how much fruit and veg she's been eating.

UNIVERSITY of Newcastle students are slowly but surely changing the health attitudes and outcomes of regional Australians.

The students were giving out free 20-minute health checks at AgQuip.

Nutrition student Sarah McDermott said more than 100 patients came to get their blood pressure and arterial stiffness tested, along with weight and waist circumference measured.

They also used a spectrophotometer to take pictures of patients’ skin, as there is a “correlation between your skin pigmentation colour, and your fruit and vegetable intake”.

“At events like AgQuip and Country Music Festival, we provide free health screening to people who wouldn’t usually engage with health care services,” Ms McDermott said.

“There is some evidence that rural populations don’t actively seek heath care, so by providing it at opportunistic events they’re more like to engage in the future.”

Once they’ve got their results, patients could get onsite medical advice.

“We had a guy who brought his report card from last year, to show that his results have improved,” Ms McDermott said. 

“He’d lost quite a few kilos and a few centimetres off his waist. And he said he’d come back next year and do the same.”

Fellow nutrition student Rachel Latter said the data also gave researchers a snapshot of the region’s heath.

“Once we’ve collated it, it tells us a bit about rural populations’ health, and where they can improve,” she said.

“We also take demographic and health information, which tells us about their access to services.”

This story Uni students changing health outcomes with 20-minute test first appeared on Namoi Valley Independent.

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