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Housing, Insulation and Health Study (HIHS)

This study has been completed.
Information provided by:
University of Otago Identifier:
First received: February 20, 2007
Last updated: NA
Last verified: February 2007
History: No changes posted
In six communities we will seek out households where someone who has a history of respiratory problems. For the first winter we will measure temperature and humidity of the house and health of occupants. We will insulate half the houses and the next winter compare them with the uninsulated houses to see if warmer houses improve health.

Condition Intervention
Respiratory Illness Asthma Device: Insulation retrofitted into house

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: None (Open Label)
Primary Purpose: Prevention
Official Title: The Impact of Insulating Domestic Houses on the Health of Occupants: an Intervention Study

Further study details as provided by University of Otago:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Self reported general health, During the first winter post intervention
  • Indoor temperature and relative humidity, During the first winter post intervention

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Energy consumption, During the first winter post intervention
  • Wheezing, During the first winter post intervention
  • Days off school and work, During the first winter post intervention
  • GP visits, During the first winter post intervention
  • Inpatient hospital admissions, During the first winter post intervention

Estimated Enrollment: 4000
Study Start Date: July 2001
Estimated Study Completion Date: December 2002
Detailed Description:

Damp, cold indoor environments are bad for the health of people who live in them, particularly if they have respiratory problems or are vulnerable, such as the young or the very old. This is a community based study designed to test the hypothesis that insulating domestic houses will make them warmer and that this increase in indoor temperature will improve their health and wellbeing.

Following two pilot studies, the first among older people in city council flats and the second among home owners in Waitara. We have followed the "Waitara model" where community networks will be mobilised to identify households in each community where there is someone with a on going respiratory problem. Seven communities have been selected to help test these hypotheses and have agreed to participate Otara, Gisborne, Mahia/Nuhaka, Taranaki, Porirua, West Coast and Christchurch. Low income areas with high Maori populations have been deliberately selected to maximise the potential health gains.

Two hundred houses in each community will be insulated free of charge to the occupants. The workers who will insulate the homes will be local people employed through the Department of Work and Income (WINZ).

Once the houesholds are selected they will be randomly assigned to intervention or control groups. During the first winter, all 1400 households will be monitored for temperature and humidity and their comfort, health and healthcare utilization will be recorded. Half the households, assigned to the intervention group, will be fully insulated during the spring. The following winter, all the initial measurements taken from both the intervention and control group will be repeated. At the end of the study period, all control houses will be insulated.

This study has developed from a natural intervention being carried out by the Energy Efficiency Conservation Authority (EECA) to insulate domestic houses in New Zealand and is a major collaborative effort, which will shed light on the effectiveness of insulation in improving health and wellbeing. The impact of housing refurbishment on health has not previously been examined. There is considerable government and policy interest in promoting healthy housing and there is strong community interest in ensuring the housing stock is improved in order to lower health risks.


Ages Eligible for Study:   Child, Adult, Senior
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Live in Study area
  • At least one person in the household must had had respiratory illness within the last year, well members of the same household may also participate
  • house currently uninsulated
  • interested in taking part in research

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Intending to move within study period
  Contacts and Locations
Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the Contacts provided below. For general information, see Learn About Clinical Studies.

Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00437541

New Zealand
Otara Health Inc
Otara, Auckland, New Zealand
Te Iwi O Rakaipaaka
Mahia/Nuhaka, East Coast, New Zealand
Te Wahine O Kahungungu
Mahia/Nuhaka, East Coast, New Zealand
Opotiki Trade Training
Opotiki, Gisborne, New Zealand
Te Puni Kokiri
New Plymouth, Taranaki, New Zealand
Porirua Housing Action Group
Porirua, Wellington, New Zealand
Maori Womans Welfare League
Rata - Hokitika, West Coast, New Zealand
Crown Public Health
Christchurch, New Zealand
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Otago
Study Director: Philippa L Howden-Chapman, PhD University of Otago
Principal Investigator: Julian Crane, FRCP University of Otago
Principal Investigator: Michael G Baker, FRACMA University of Otago
Principal Investigator: Chris Cunningham, PhD Massey University
Principal Investigator: Kay Saville-Smith, MA Hons CRESA
Principal Investigator: Nick Waipara, PhD Landcare Research Limited
Principal Investigator: Alistair Woodward, PhD University of Otago
Principal Investigator: Des O'Dea, BSc Hons University of Otago
Principal Investigator: Tony Blakely, PhD University of Otago
Principal Investigator: Cheryl Brunton, FAFPHM University of Otago
  More Information

Additional Information:
Publications: Identifier: NCT00437541     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: Insulation study
Study First Received: February 20, 2007
Last Updated: February 20, 2007

Keywords provided by University of Otago:
Mould processed this record on August 23, 2017