SUNY Plattsburgh study examines perceptions of health

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) What does health mean to you? A new health study from SUNY Plattsburgh is trying to answer that question.

"The idea is if we can understand how people are thinking about their health, how people are taking care of their body, we can begin to understand what makes people healthy," said Allen McCoy, a sociology professor at SUNY Plattsburgh.

What does make people healthy? Is it being physically fit? Eating fruits and veggies? Being in a stable state of mind?

"Many people will define it in different ways so I don't think there really is one definition of health," McCoy said.

McCoy's research is trying to define what health means to people of the North Country. "We as the researchers don't try to define if for people, but rather we are interested in hearing what the people we interview think is health," he said.

The anonymous survey is being conducted by McCoy and his students. "100 percent confidential. Whatever you tell us would never be revealed, none of your personal information would be revealed," he said.

He pans to compare the findings to see if similar genders, races, age groups or lifestyles in other parts of the North country look at health the same way.

And they are looking for more people to sign up, noting there is no perfect candidate for this study. "Really get a sense of how how people are thinking about health across a wide spectrum," McCoy said.

They will conduct interviews for the next several months to gather data before publishing the study. The end game is a better understand what makes this community healthy and how to improve as a community over all. "Improve the public health, trying to make people have healthier lives and an overall better community," McCoy said.

They are offering an incentive to those who sign up -- a $50 gift card could be yours if you are willing to participate.