Americans Rate Themselves and Their Communities as Healthy, Despite Research
Showing the Opposite
New survey shows those who most want community health resources have the least
access to them
For those Americans who use online resources, 40 percent self-diagnose; while
one-third of young Americans who use online resources act without consulting a
PHILADELPHIA and WASHINGTON, March 6, 2013
PHILADELPHIA and WASHINGTON, March 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite an
optimistic view of health in their communities, significant portions of the
U.S. population are not convinced that communities provide sufficient access
to key resources for good health, while 60 percent of Americans say online
information is important to their health, a new survey from The Atlantic, in
collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), finds.
The national survey, conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland from Jan. 12-20,
2013, found a strong majority of Americans place a premium on health care
providers and environment as being primary drivers of their community's
health. The phone survey of 1,004 individuals found that
Americans—lower-income individuals, defined as those making less than $50,000
in household income, in particular (55 percent)—view doctors and hospitals as
primarily responsible for ensuring good health in a community.
The Atlantic has partnered with GSK on a national initiative to examine the
barriers and identify opportunities to build healthier communities in the U.S.
The program, "A Conversation on Community Health" consisted of a series of
events in U.S. cities to explore what it means, and what it takes, to be a
healthy community. This poll builds on the learnings from those events by
focusing on citizens' perspectives.
Americans perceive themselves to be healthy
The poll also found nine of 10 Americans consider themselves to be in good
personal health and 81 percent said the health of people in their community is
good. This finding is in stark contrast to recent research on the health
status of America, including one-third of U.S. adults who are obese and 26
million adults and children who have diabetes. ^ Additionally, while the
majority of Americans believe their health status has not changed recently, 26
percent say their health has declined and cited worsening economic
circumstances as a critical factor.
Low-income Americans lack access to community health resources
While Americans believe a variety of community factors are very important to
their health such as good air and water quality (87 percent), regular access
to doctors and dentists (82 percent), healthy food choices (81 percent), and
nearby hospitals and urgent care facilities (74 percent), the poll found
significant unmet needs for the most underserved in this country with those
who most value these community health resources having the least access to
Minorities and urban, low-income Americans in particular are less convinced
of their access to clean air and water, nearby hospitals, green spaces, and
safe housing and healthy food choices. For example, 89 percent of low-income
Americans cited good air and water quality as being very important to their
health, yet only 58 percent say they have a great deal of access to these
environmental and community services. Additionally, 84 percent said regular
access to doctors and dentists was very important to their health but only 66
percent feel they have a great deal of access to them.
Technology is an emerging source for health information
The survey also found there continues to be a rapid evolution in how
technology is changing the way people access healthcare. The survey suggests
Americans want technology to become a bigger part of the healthcare system
with 64 percent using online health resources and 94 percent of those saying
the health/medical information they find online is important to their health.
And yet only 12 percent of respondents have emailed or sent a text message to
a physician regarding a health question.
"It's interesting to me that a third of people have never looked up their
health condition or symptoms on the Internet, while nearly 90 percent have
never emailed or texted with their doctor," Dr. James Hamblin, M.D.,
TheAtlantic.com's health editor, said. "That last point may be a slippery
slope in terms of a physician's limited time and work-life balance, not to
mention limited compensation structures for that kind of communication, but it
seems to me one area where the healthcare community could achieve a happier
medium. Imagine being able to ask your doctor a quick question or check in
with him or her directly without going all the way to an office visit."
The younger population, in general, are far more prone to embrace and utilize
health information technology; however, this group also tends to place greater
emphasis on removing face-to-face interaction with healthcare professionals
and self-diagnosing their conditions.
Additional findings include:
oMore than 1 in 3 young Americans are willing to have primarily online
interaction with doctors. Young people (defined as those under age 30),
Hispanics and upper-income Americans are most open to communicating with
their doctor mainly through text messages or e-mails.
oYoung people and Hispanics are eager to use web applications to help
improve their health.
o40 percent of Americans who use online resources self diagnose.
o32 percent of Americans under 30 who use online health resources act on
the information they find without consulting a medical professional.
oAnd significant proportions use health websites for purposes that would
otherwise require doctors' visits.
"At GSK, we continue to ask ourselves what we can do to be a better partner in
the communities we serve, and to ensure Americans have the resources and
opportunities they need to live healthier lives," said Deirdre Connelly,
President, North America Pharmaceuticals at GlaxoSmithKline. "We look forward
to exploring new ways in which we can collaborate with business, non-profit
and public sector leaders to bring real and sustainable change to the health
of our communities."
Click here to view an infographic on the poll results. Join the conversation
on Twitter @GSKUS or @Atlantic_Live, #HealthyCommunity.
About the Survey
The Atlantic-GlaxoSmithKline National Community Health Survey was a
quantitative phone poll of 1,004 individuals in the U.S. general population on
the issue of community health conducted by Penn, Schoen & Berland from
January 12-20, 2013. Questions asked of the full sample had a margin of error
of plus or minus 3.09 percent. Full results are available at
About The Atlantic
Since its founding in 1857 as a magazine about "the American Idea" that would
be of "no party or clique," The Atlantic has been at the forefront of brave
thinking in journalism. One of the first magazines to launch on the Web in the
early 1990s, The Atlantic has continued to help shape the national debate
across print, digital, and event platforms. With the addition of its news- and
opinion-tracking site, TheAtlanticWire.com, and now TheAtlanticCities.com on
global cities, The Atlantic is a multimedia forum on the most-critical issues
of our times, from politics, business, urban affairs, and the economy, to
technology, arts, and culture. The Atlantic is the flagship property of
Washington, D.C.-based publisher Atlantic Media Company.
GlaxoSmithKline plc [LSE/NYSE: GSK] – one of the world's leading
research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies – is committed to
improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better
and live longer. For further information go to us.gsk.com, follow us on
twitter.com/GSKUS or visit our blog (www.morethanmedicine.us.gsk.com/blog/).
About Penn, Schoen & Berland
Penn Schoen Berland (PSB) is a 'Global Research based Strategic Communication
Advisory' that brings the lessons learnt from its campaign trails into the
boardroom to help companies negotiate some of their toughest corporate image &
corporate affairs challenges. For over thirty years PSB has used research to
leverage unique insights about public opinion, to give our clients a
competitive edge. PSB serves Fortune 100 Corporations, leading Hollywood
Studios and has helped elect over 30 Presidents and Prime Ministers around the
world. PSB is a part of Y&R Brands and WPP (NASDAQ:WPPGY); more information is
available on www.psbresearch.com.
Cautionary statement regarding forward-looking statements
Under the safe harbor provisions of the U.S. Private Securities Litigation
Reform Act of 1995, GSK cautions investors that any forward-looking statements
or projections made by GSK, including those made in this announcement, are
subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ
materially from those projected. Factors that may affect GSK' s operations are
described under 'Risk Factors' in the 'Business Review' in the company' s
Annual Report on Form 20-F for 2011.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Overweight and
Obesity-Adult Obesity Facts. http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html.
Accessed Feb. 26, 2013.
American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Basics-Diabetes Statistics.
http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/diabetes-statistics/. Accessed Feb.
Minorities is described here by the socio-economic definition as non-white,
live in a city, make less than $50k in household income
Contact: Sarah Alspach, Washington, DC, +1-202-715-1048; Jennifer Armstrong,
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