New York State Department of Health Releases Results of Chronic Disease Survey
Only 25% of New Yorkers Think Americans are Healthier Today Compared to a Generation Ago
70% of New Yorkers Think Marketing Tobacco Products Specifically Towards Communities of Color is Either a Very or Somewhat Serious Public Health Problem
Read the Full Report Here
ALBANY, N.Y. (February 21, 2023) – The New York State Department of Health today issued the results of its latest annual chronic disease public opinion survey report to better understand New Yorkers' beliefs about public health issues and to assess support for public health policies intended to prevent and control chronic diseases.
"As we advance our statewide public health policies, it's important to hear directly from New Yorkers which health issues are most important to them," Acting State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. "This data will help the Department know where to best target our efforts and what issues matter most to people living in New York State."
Chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, asthma, and arthritis are among the leading causes of death, disability, and rising health care costs in New York State. However, chronic diseases are also among the most preventable with modified risk behaviors, including healthier eating, increased physical activity, and avoiding tobacco use.
The Department's Division of Chronic Disease Prevention partnered with the Siena College Research Institute to conduct this annual survey of adults in New York State. Respondents answered a variety of questions about their perceptions of the seriousness of several health issues and behaviors, public health policies, and their influence over the government's public health priorities.
According to the survey, only 25% of New Yorkers said Americans are healthier today compared to a generation ago, and 53% said Americans are less healthy today than they were a generation ago.
Perceptions About the Seriousness of Public Health Issues
- 88% of respondents think heroin use is either a very or somewhat serious public health problem, while 90% think the use or misuse of prescription opioids (such as Percocet, OxyContin, or Vicodin) is either a very or somewhat serious public health problem.
- 85% of respondents think tobacco use is either a very or somewhat serious public health problem, while 82% think vaping and e-cigarette use is either a very or somewhat serious public health problem. 70% think that the marketing of tobacco products directed specifically towards communities of color, including Black and Hispanic individuals, is either a very or somewhat serious public health problem.
- 77%of respondents think that alcohol consumption is either a very or somewhat serious public health problem. Meanwhile, 46% think marijuana or cannabis use is either a very or somewhat serious public health problem.
- 83% of respondents think the amount of exercise Americans get is either a very or somewhat serious public health problem. 73% think that access to healthy food and beverages is either a very or somewhat serious public health problem.
- 92% of respondents think that childhood obesity is a very or somewhat serious public health problem.
- 80% of respondents think access to health care is a very or somewhat serious public health problem.
Respondents also answered questions about the number of public policies to promote healthy lifestyles, with 69% of NYS adults thinking there should be more public health policies, and 8% thinking there should be fewer.
Support for Public Health Policies
- The majority of New Yorkers (85%) were in favor or strongly in favor of requiring employers to offer paid sick leave to all employees for health screenings. 64% of respondents were in favor or strongly in favor of increasing the age limit on the use of indoor tanning devices to 21 years old, and 59% were in favor or strongly in favor of requiring all 11 to 12-year-olds to get the human papillomavirus vaccine prior to the start of the 6th grade.
- Most adults (80%) were in favor of bringing healthier foods into the workplace in cafeterias and vending machines. Just over half (52%) of New Yorkers said they would be more likely to support taxing sugar-sweetened beverages if a portion of the money from the tax would be used to fund health programs in New York.
The Department has partnered with the Siena College Research Institute to conduct these annual surveys in New York State since 2013. This report summarizes results from the most recent survey conducted from January 3 to January 20, 2022. The report also summarizes results for New York adults by annual household income.
More information on the Department's Division of Chronic Disease Prevention can be found here.
The New York State Prevention Agenda 2019-2024: Prevent Chronic Diseases Action Plan can be found here.