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Quintessence Int. 2003 May;34(5):370-8.

Study of Health in Pomerania (SHIP): a health survey in an East German region. Objectives and design of the oral health section.

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Department of Orthodontics, Dental School, University of Greifswald, Greifswald, Germany.


The goal of the Study of Health in Pomerania (SHIP) was to estimate the prevalence of diseases, identify potential risk factors in a defined region in northeast Germany, and examine the particular living situation of this population after the reunification of East and West Germany. One of the main concerns of the SHIP design is the analysis of the relationships between dental, medical, social, and environmentally and behaviorally determined health factors. SHIP is a cross-sectional study (clinical findings and sociologic interviews). The sample was drawn in two steps: Thirty-two communities in the region were selected, and within these communities, a simple random sample was drawn from residence registries, stratified by gender and age. The final sample included 4,310 males and females, aged 20 to 79 years. This is equivalent to a participation rate of 68.8%. Data collection was completed in May 2001. The data collection and items comprised four parts: oral health examination, medical examination, health-related interview, and a health- and risk-factor-related questionnaire. The oral health examination included the teeth, periodontium, oral mucosa, morphology and function of the craniomandibular system, and prosthodontics. The medical examination included blood pressure measurements; electrocardiography; echocardiography; carotid, thyroid, and liver ultrasound examinations; neurologic screening; and blood and urine sampling. The computer-assisted interview consisted of questions on symptoms of disease, utilization of medical and dental services, self-assessment of general and oral health, health behavior and knowledge, and socioeconomic variables. The self-administered questionnaire comprised housing conditions, social network, work conditions, subjective well-being, and individual consequences of the German reunification.

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