Tuscola county selected for national health study

The CDC is in Tuscola county to study the health of a selected group of residents.

It's a study that's been done across the United States for more than 50 years.

"A large amount of information is collected here about a person's health,” explained Study Manager Jacque DeMatteis.

This year, the health of Tuscola County will be part of that study.

"Researchers, the medical community, they all rely upon this information," said DeMatteis.

Every year, 15 counties in the U.S. are selected to take part in the Centers for Disease control and Prevention's National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

For the first time, federal health officials are surveying Tuscola County.

"The people that are selected to participate will basically look like the United States. It's random statistical selection, so that every gender, age group, ethnicity, and income level will be selected," said DeMatteis.

CDC workers visit households and ask background questions to whoever lives there.

Then a computer algorithm randomly decides who will be invited to the study.

"When our household interviewer goes to the door, we don't know anything about anybody in that house, we have no names. We have no information. There will be a short screening, sometimes nobody gets selected, sometimes one, sometimes the entire household," explained DeMatteis.

If people agree to participate, they go to trailers at the Tuscola County Health Department parking lot for a series of tests including blood work.

"Everything we do is voluntary, we really hope that people will participate. People here have been extraordinarily friendly, so we're very thankful for that," said DeMatteis.

Information collected is used primarily for research, but it also benefits participants.

They can share results of their health tests with their doctor.

"Everything that everybody does here is at no cost, no charge, absolutely no charge, but they do get the results, and then they'll have a good baseline of what their health is right now," said DeMatteis.

Participants in the study receive $125 cash.

The CDC will be in Tuscola county until September 15th.

Interviewers will wear identification and have a letter from the Sheriff's office.

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