HEALTH ATTITUDES: Californians Take Proactive Stance
California residents over age 40 are more proactive about their health care than people over 60 in many other states, according to a new survey by a St. Paul, Minnesota-based research firm. The survey was conducted to "help pharmaceutical companies, HMOs and policy planners ... make sense of the diversity of attitudes and behaviors toward health," the Wall Street Journal/California Edition reports. The survey divided people over 40 into four broad categories: "proactive, or taking an active role in maintaining health; disillusioned, or cynical about the medical system and making little effort to maintain health; faithful, or knowing what should be done to keep healthy but not taking any long-term steps to stay that way; ... and optimist, or avoiding going to doctors, not exercising, ignoring aches and pains and hoping for the best." The survey found that "[i]n California, the percentage of proactive residents is about eight percentage points above the national rate, and the percentage of optimist residents is just slightly above the national figure." At the same time, "[d]isillusioned people account for a mere 13.8% of the state's over-40 population, well below the national rate of 19.24%," giving California one of the lowest percentages of disillusioned residents in the nation.
A Healthy Outlook
"California's above-average numbers of proactive and optimistic residents and below-average numbers of faithful and disillusioned residents reflect characteristics of the state's population and medical care," the Journal reports. According to the researchers who conducted the study, "Californians are generally educated about health and are active" (Hausman, 4/22).