Frequently Asked Questions

Answers

How do I register in this study?

We are currently enrolling families who have at least one child between the ages of 18 months and 6 years and live in Guelph or the surrounding area. Please email the Study Coordinator at coordinator@guelphfamilyhealthstudy.com if you are interested in joining or if you have any questions about the study. We look forward to hearing from you!

How do I withdraw from this study?

You can withdraw from the study at any time by contacting our study team at 519-824-4120, extension 56168 or coordinator@guelphfamilyhealthstudy.com.

How do you collect blood samples?

Blood contains many factors that can provide information about your health.

You can choose for your family to provide blood samples to the study. Giving a blood sample is optional and is not a requirement of the study. You can still be a participant in the study even if you or your child do not to provide a blood sample.

During the home visit, we will ask you if you want to provide blood samples. If you agree to provide blood samples, you will be asked to book an appointment at LifeLabs Medical Laboratory Services within three weeks of your health assessment at the University of Guelph. We want you to book an appointment so you have access to staff.

We will provide you with a form to take to your LifeLabs appointment.  Please follow the "Instructions for Providing a Fasting Blood Sample" that are given to you by our research team.  Your family should not eat or drink for 12 hours before giving blood samples. Most families find it convenient to stop eating and drinking at 7 p.m. the night before they give blood so they can arrive at the laboratory early the next morning.

Your blood will be tested for sugars, fats and hormones, including glucose, insulin, hemoglobin A1c, triglycerides, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, cortisol and fatty acids. These tests will help us to measure the sugar and fat in your diet, as well as stress and inflammation in your body.

You may experience the usual pain and bruising that people get when they give blood.  You may also experience dizziness.  Rarely, giving blood can cause an unusually small vein to collapse.  The laboratory staff who will collect your blood have extensive training and experience taking blood in adults and young children.

How do you collect saliva?

Our research staff will collect a sample of your saliva.  For this test you and your child will be asked to spit several times into a plastic collection container. We will ask you and your child to provide approximately 2mL of saliva, without bubbles. Please do not eat, drink, smoke or chew gum for 30 minutes before giving your saliva sample.

Your saliva sample will be used to study some of your genetic material, or DNA. You were born with your DNA and it affects how your body works. We want to know how your DNA relates to your health behaviours and responses to food.  For example, if you have DNA that is associated with not liking vegetables, we want to see if it affects the foods your family eats.

How do you measure body fat and muscle?

Measuring body fat and muscle in adults:  Our research staff will measure your body fat and muscle with the BOD POD™. The BOD POD™ is a machine (pictured left, top) that uses the displacement of air to determine the make-up of your body. The whole test takes approximately 15 minutes to complete, with only 5 minutes spent sitting alone in the BOD POD™. It is harmless and painless.

For this measure, you will be asked to wear a bathing suit and bathing cap to minimize the air between your clothing, hair and skin.  Please bring your bathing suit with you.  A clean bathing cap will be provided to you before the test. Please do not eat, drink or exercise for 2 hours prior to the BOD POD™ assessment.

You may experience claustrophobia while sitting in the BOD POD™. You can exit the BOD PODTM at any time by pressing a button under your left knee to release the door or by telling research staff that you would to stop the test.

You may feel slightly embarrassed about wearing a bathing suit in the BOD PODTM.  You can wear a hospital gown immediately before the test.  You will be able to change back into your own clothes immediately after the test.  The BODPODTM is located in a private room.  Only your family and a member of our study team will be allowed in the room.

Measuring body fat and muscle in children: Our research staff will measure child’s body body fat and muscle using something called a bioelectrical impedance measure or BIA (pictured left, bottom). For the BIA measure, your child will be asked to remove their right sock and lay down on a mat.  Our research staff will clean a small area of your child’s foot with a rubbing alcohol wipe. We will then attach a small patch to the top of your child’s right foot and right hand.  During a BIA test, a small electric signal is circulated through the body.

BIA measures the resistance to an electrical signal as it travels through the water in your child’s muscle and fat. The more muscle a person has, the more water their body can hold. The greater the amount of water in a person's body, the easier it is for the current to pass through it. The procedure is safe, painless and results are obtained in minutes.

There is a very small risk that your child’s skin may be sensitive to the glue that is used to place the patches on their hand and foot. Your child can ask that the patches be removed, if they are uncomfortable.

How much blood do I have to give if I participate in this study?

Giving a blood sample is optional and is not a requirement of this study. You and your family can still participate in the study even if you choose not to provide blood samples.

You and your partner or spouse (if applicable) can choose to go to a LifeLabs laboratory in downtown Guelph within three weeks of your health assessment to provide a blood sample. The blood sample will be no more than 20 ml.

You can also choose to have your children who are 18 months to five years of age provide a blood sample. Children will be asked to give 20 ml of blood.

The laboratory staff who will collect your blood have extensive training and experience taking blood in adults and young children.

How will I receive my gift cards?

If you participate in the full study, you will receive a series of grocery gift cards as a thank you for your time and effort. Your gift cards will be delivered to you as follows:

  • Gift cards relating to the questionnaires will be given to you at your home visit.
  • Gift cards relating to your health assessment will be given to you at the University of Guelph.
  • Gift cards relating to your blood samples will be given to you at your LifeLabs appointment.

To calculate incentives for your family, visit incentives.

How will you protect my information and privacy?

We have taken many precautions to ensure that the information and saliva and blood samples you provide us will remain
secure and private, and that your identity will be protected. For more information,
visit privacy.

What if I have questions about my study results?

If you have questions about the study, you can contact our study team at any time at 519-824-4120, extension 56168 or coordinator@guelphfamilyhealthstudy.com.

What if I have questions about the study?

If you have questions about the study, please review this website or contact our study team at 519-824-4120, extension 56168 or coordinator@guelphfamilyhealthstudy.com.

What if some members of my family don’t want to participate in the study?

We encourage every eligible member of your family to participate in the Guelph Family Health Study so we can get an accurate picture of how to help your family develop the best plan for a healthy life.

To be eligible for the Guelph Family Health Study, you must have at least one child 18 months to five years of age who is willing to participate in the study. One-parent families are welcome in the study. Two-parent families can choose to exclude one parent from the study, but it is preferable for everyone to participate.

There are incentives for each eligible member of your family to participate in the Guelph Family Health Study. To calculate
incentives for your family, visit incentives.

What will I have to do if I participate in this study?

If you register in this study, you will be asked to:

 

  • provide your consent
  • complete online questionnaires
  • meet with a member of our study team at your home
  • track your children’s food and exercise for a few days
  • come to the University of Guelph for a health assessment
  • provide a saliva sample
  • provide a blood sample at a local laboratory (optional)
  • take steps to improve the health of your family

Families will also be asked to participate in follow-up activities. To learn more about participating in the study, visit what's required.

What will I receive for participating in this study?

If you choose to participate in this study, you will be part of an important project that is helping us better understand the human behaviours that affect health.  We will use this information to develop programs that reduce the risk for disease in families.

In addition, your family will receive:

  • six months of customized health advice from our research experts.
  • a series of grocery gift cards.

Gift cards will be issued to families using the following guidelines:

  One Parent Two Parents
Online questionnaires

Questionnaires

$50 gift card

Total = $50 gift card

Questionnaires

$25 gift card

Total = $75 gift card

Health assessment

$75 gift card if one parent attends

$100 gift card if two parents attend

Blood sample

$25 gift card

$25 gift card

Your family also will be invited to complete additional assessments every six or 12 months for up to 20 years.

To learn more about what it means to participate in this study, visit what’s required.

 

What will you do with the information from my questionnaire and health assessment?

With your permission, the study team will keep the results of your questionnaire and health assessment. It may also keep your family’s saliva samples and blood samples for ten years. These samples may be analyzed by the study team or other researchers in the future. This is because the Guelph Family Health Study is a long-term study that will continue for many years.

We have taken many precautions to ensure that the information and saliva and blood samples that you provide us will remain secure and private,
and that your identity will be protected. For more information, visit privacy.

The results of your family’s questionnaires and saliva and blood tests may also be used in publications and at conferences for the purpose of learning. This will happen only after any information that can directly identify you has been removed.

When will my results be ready?

The results of your body fat analysis will be provided to you at the health assessment visit, if requested.  The results of your children's body fat and muscle analyses will not be provided to you because we do not yet have standards for healthy body fat and muscle in this age group.

Your saliva test results will not be provided to you.  This is to protect you and your children from having to potentially provide genetic information to a third party, such as an insurance provider or employer.

Some of your blood test results will be provided to you if you request them.  Your children's blood test results will not be provided to you because we do not yet have standards for healthy blood ranges in this age group.

If any of your blood test results are significantly abnormal, they will be reported to you by the study team.  If this occurs, you will be encouraged to follow up with you doctor.

Who can register in this study?

You can register in this study if you:

  • Have at least one child between the ages of 18 months and 6 years.
  • Live in the Guelph area.  The Guelph area is Wellington County, including Guelph, Rockwood, Fergus, Elora, Mount Forest and Puslinch.

Our programs are made for families in the Guelph area who have children of a certain age. It is important that families who take part
in the Guelph Family Health Study meet these criteria, so we can ensure our programs are effective. We may open the Guelph Family Health Study
to families outside of the Guelph area with children of different ages in the future. We also plan to run other studies as part of the
Health for Life Initiative that may interest your family. To provide us with your name and email address so we can contact you
about news and future opportunities, visit contact us.

Why are we doing this study?

Most of us know we need to eat nutritious food, stay active and get good sleep to be healthy.

But the reality is, Canadians aren't keeping healthy habits. We don’t eat any more vegetables and fruits than we did 30 years ago. Most of us don’t exercise enough to be physically fit. And we are spending too much time sitting still in front of our televisions and computers.

All of these unhealthy habits have consequences. More than half of our population is now overweight or obese, and the same amount live with chronic diseases, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes and depression.

It's a big problem. So what’s the solution?
 

We think it starts with our families, and that’s our focus at the Guelph Family Health Study.

The Guelph Family Health Study is testing new ways for kids to learn healthy habits early – habits that can significantly lower your child’s risk for disease now and in the future.

We’re looking for families with at least one child who is 18 months to five years of age. Our researchers have young kids like you, so we’re focused on practical solutions. To learn more, visit eligibility.

Families who participate in the study will receive six months of customized health advice from our research experts, plus a series of gift cards. To calculate incentives for your family, visit incentives.

The study will begin by recruiting families with young children. Research shows that parents are an important influence on a child’s health behaviours. We think helping families develop healthy habits early will reduce their risk for disease later in life. We also think that working with families over several generations will help us find the most effective ways to support lifelong healthy habits.

The Guelph Family Health Study is part of the Health for Life Initiative – a group of innovative education and research programs focused on the goals of improving individual, family and population health and reducing chronic disease. The goal of the Health for Life Initiative is to become for family-based chronic disease prevention what the Framingham Heart Study has been for the identification of heart disease risk factors.

Why do you need saliva and blood samples?

Your saliva sample will be used to study some of your genetic material, or DNA. You were born with your DNA and it affects how your body works. We want to know how your DNA relates to your health behaviours and responses to food. For example, if you have DNA that is associated with not liking vegetables, we want to see if it affects the foods your family eats.

If you chose to give a blood sample, it will be used to look at the levels of fats, sugars and hormones in your bloodstream.

Information from your saliva and blood samples will help us provide more personalized advice about the healthy habits that will most benefit you.

Will you pay for my transportation and parking?

By participating in this study, you are volunteering your time to help us create a healthier future for families.

We will pay for your parking at the University of Guelph, where you will bring your family to complete your health assessment. Free street parking is usually available near the LifeLabs laboratories you will visit to provide your blood samples. You are responsible for the payment of any parking tickets that you may receive for parking in restricted areas during a study visit.

Unfortunately, this study cannot reimburse you directly for expenses related to transportation to the University of Guelph or your local laboratory. By completing the study, you will receive a series of gift cards. To calculate incentives for your family, visit incentives.