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

PhRMA launches annual exploration of America’s health views, concerns and progress

WASHINGTON, D.C. (August 2, 2013) – A new survey commissioned by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) shows 86 percent 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 percent) and more intensive medical care for seniors (76 percent). These findings are the result of a new annual “From Hope to Cures” survey, which explores Americans’ attitudes on personal health and medical concerns.

[Read the related USA Today story, "Americans more proactive in personal health care."]

“A patient-centric dialogue is crucial to improving health outcomes,” said John J. Castellani, President and CEO 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 1,219 Americans. Among the key findings:

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

The survey also queried Americans’ knowledge and experience with clinical trials, with more than 65 percent recognizing this research as “extremely important.” Yet, only one in five 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 percent said it was a great or good health year for Americans, while 78 percent 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 Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the country’s leading innovative biopharmaceutical research and biotechnology companies, which are devoted to discovering and developing medicines that enable patients to live longer, healthier, and more productive lives. Since 2000, PhRMA member companies have invested approximately $550 billion in the search for new treatments and cures, including an estimated $48.5 billion in 2012 alone.

Find PhRMA Online:

For information on how innovative medicines save lives, visit: http://www.innovation.org

For information on the Partnership for Prescription Assistance, visit: http://www.pparx.org

For information on ensuring the flow of medicines during public health emergencies, visit http://www.rxresponse.org

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