New Survey Identifies America's Health Priorities: Obesity, Cancer Cures, Senior Care

A new survey commissioned by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) shows 86% of Americans believe developing cures for more forms of cancer should be one of the top national health priorities.

A new survey commissioned by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) shows 86% of Americans believe developing cures for more forms of cancer should be one of the top national health priorities, followed by developing effective treatments for heart disease (78%) and more intensive medical care for seniors (76%). These findings are the result of a new annual “From Hope to Cures” survey, which explores Americans’ attitudes on personal health and medical concerns.

“A patient-centric dialogue is crucial to improving health outcomes,” said John J. Castellani, president and chief executive officer of PhRMA. “The Health Survey findings will help also inform efforts to address major health challenges such as chronic disease, improved prevention and wellness activities and enhanced patient adherence to prescribed therapies.”

The survey, conducted by Hart Research Associates, polled 1219 Americans. Among the key findings:

  • Obesity, diet and weight management topped the list of Americans’ biggest personal health concerns.
  • 86% believe finding cures for more types of cancer should be a national health priority, followed by 78% who describe finding more effective treatments for heart disease, 76% noting elderly care needs and 74 percent citing addressing obesity.
  • 57% pay attention to eating a healthy diet; 54% to maintaining a healthy weight; 45% to reducing stress; and 41% to staying informed about health guidelines and recommendations.
  • 65% project that they will live longer than the national average (79) and 80% project that future generations will live beyond 80.

The survey also queried Americans’ knowledge and experience with clinical trials, with more than 65% recognizing this research as “extremely important.” Yet, only 1 in 5 Americans had some personal knowledge of clinical trials. This disparity points to the need for further education to understand the role clinical trials in the discovery of new medicines and how clinical trial participation benefits patients and science.

While those surveyed are optimistic about their own health and that of their families, they are significantly less positive about the health of the average American. Just 18% said it was a great or good health year for Americans, while 78% characterized their own health as good or excellent.

“While a majority of Americans say that they have had a great or good year in terms of their personal health, it is significant that more than a third of all adults in the country say this year has been ‘just okay’ for them, or less good than that health-wise, and there is a real focus on the challenges of obesity and maintaining a healthy weight. But even with these challenges, Americans are still optimistic that we will continue an upward trend line of longer life expectancy in the decades ahead,” said Geoff Garin, president of Hart Research Associates.

The full findings are available at: www.phrma.org.

SOURCE: PhRMA