Support for Investing in Improving Community Health High, Survey Finds

Nearly three-quarters (73 percent) of registered voters in the United States support an increase in investments aimed at improving the health of communities, a survey from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Trust for America's Health finds.

According to the survey (10 pages, PDF), 57 percent of Republicans, 87 percent of Democrats, 70 percent of independents, 78 percent of women, 89 percent of African Americans, 82 percent of Latino/as, and 69 percent of whites said they supported investing more to improve community health. In addition, just over half (51 percent) of the more than thirteen hundred survey respondents believed children today will be less healthy than previous generations when they reach adulthood — including 55 percent of Republicans, 62 percent of women registered as independents, 68 percent of African-American women, and 57 percent and 60 percent of those who live in the South and rural areas.

The report also found that two-thirds (64 percent) of respondents said the number of health issues facing the nation has increased in recent years, citing obesity (41 percent), cancer (33 percent), heart disease and stroke (14 percent), and diabetes and substance misuse (11 percent each) as top concerns. According to the survey, while 66 percent of respondents rated their own health as very good — with higher percentages among college-educated white respondents and those with household incomes above $50,000 — only 36 percent said the same of their community's health.

Among specific strategies for improving health, the report found that ensuring sufficient time for children's physical education, physical activity, or community sports and creating partnerships with farmers, food suppliers, and community health groups to bring fresh produce trucks or mobile markets to food deserts were most widely supported (74 percent), followed by educating children about healthy food choices and physical activity (65 percent); investing more in preventing obesity and chronic diseases (63 percent); and increasing early childhood health programs, including home visiting programs, mobile health screenings, and asthma treatment.