Saint John is joining a 15 other Canadian communities in a multi-year survey that is designed to give a better understanding of the country's health and to shape policy decisions in the future.

Brent Day, a senior analyst at Statistics Canada, said the Canadian Health Measures Survey will reach out to 500 households in Saint John.

Those participants will be interviewed in their homes for one hour and then will be asked to visit a mobile health clinic, where they will undergo a series of tests.

The tests will track a person's height and weight and test blood pressure, aerobic activity, hearing, vision and bone density.

Day said these tests are important in order to pick up on health issues that even those involved in the survey do not realize they are dealing with.

"A lot of what our survey does is draw attention to areas that people aren't aware of because people may not have a doctor, may not go to a doctor, may never have gone to a hospital," Day said.

"But they may actually have something like hearing loss or some other chronic condition that can be seen in one of the blood tests, just for example."

National study details health factors

The study will have a nationally representative sample of the population and it will detail a number of important health factors.

The study aims, which will not be wrapped up until the end of 2017 and will not be released until fall of 2018, will develop a better understanding of health issues facing Canadians.

Saint John was selected from 360 eligible sites, which had a population of at least 10,000 and where the people didn't have to travel any more than 50 kilometres from home to mobile clinic.

Statistics Canada is partnering with Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada on the study.

Day said the findings in the report could help shape future policy decisions and health programs.

Earlier iterations of the study have discovered, for instance, that 20 per cent of adult Canadians have at least mild hearing loss and 70 per cent of those people were not aware of it.