If U.S. Could Help Change the World: Energy and Health Issues Top List

Americans Say Addressing Global Health Improves Diplomatic Relations, Minimizes Health, Economic and Security Threats
Monday, January 29, 2007

WASHINGTON—Jan. 29, 2007—If the U.S. invests in one thing to make a difference in the world, energy issues/gas prices/alternative fuels (18%) and health care/medicine/cures (16%) top the list, according to a new poll commissioned by Research!America. Seven in 10 Americans (71%) say addressing health problems around the world improves our diplomatic relations and the way other nations see us.

Eight in 10 Americans say it's important that the U.S. work to improve health globally. Reasons why Americans think the U.S. should work to improve health globally include:

  • 69% say improving health around the world can prevent future disease outbreaks;
  • 62% say it can protect Americans' health;
  • 61% say wealthy nations have a responsibility to help developing nations;
  • 61% say as the world's leader in scientific expertise and medical research the U.S. should be the leader in improving global health; and
  • Half say improving health in other countries will help protect our economic security.

Most Americans (93%) think infectious and emerging diseases facing other countries will pose a threat to the U.S. in the next few years. A majority (86%) are concerned that contagious disease in other countries can reach the U.S., and more than 70% say health problems around the world could cause economic and national security problems here.

"Increasing our investment in global health research is the smart thing to do for America and the right thing to do for the world," said The Honorable John Edward Porter, former Congressman, Research!America chair and Paul G. Rogers Society for Global Health Research Advisory Council chair. "A healthy world population will contribute to better health for Americans and greater political and economic stability-which in turn will strengthen America's own national security."

Most Americans (76%) think it is a priority for the U.S. government to spend money in the area of improving health around the world. Among the priorities for investing in global health research, Americans say it's important to address:

  • HIV/AIDS (91%);
  • Chronic disease such as heart disease and diabetes (90%);
  • Infectious and emerging disease such as flu and SARS (90%);
  • Health problems caused by lack of clean water (85%); and
  • Health problems caused by poor prenatal care for pregnant women (80%).

The poll found that 62% think the U.S. spends too little on research to improve health around the world, and of those, 84% think this is true even if spending more would mean slightly higher taxes or less money available for other spending priorities.

Research!America has been gauging Americans' attitudes toward research for more than a decade.

About Research!America

Research!America is the nation's largest not-for-profit public education and advocacy alliance working to make research to improve health a higher national priority. Its Paul G. Rogers Society for Global Health Research works to increase awareness about the critical need for greater U.S. investment in research to improve global health.

Research!America commissioned Charlton Research Company to conduct an online survey of 1,000 American adults, ages 18 and older. The survey was conducted in November 2006, and the sample is proportionate to the nation's demographics, including geography, gender, income and ethnicity, with a margin of error of ± 3.1%.

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Funding research gives all of us a better chance of living a healthier life.
Pam Hirata, heart disease survivor