U.S. Women Misinformed About Greatest Health Risk

A nationwide survey published in the Women’s Encyclopedia of Natural Health reveals that three quarters of American women are misinformed about their number-one health risk.

Only 24% of the 503 women surveyed gave the correct answer of heart disease. The most common incorrect answer, given by 48% of survey respondents, was breast cancer. The next two most frequent responses were osteoporosis (13%) and strokes (11%).

Young women ages 18-24 were more than twice as likely as older women to report breast cancer as their greatest health threat, indicating that women become better informed about health issues as they age. Study authors believe that the misinformation among women is largely due to the fact that media sources cover the issue of breast cancer more frequently than they other killers including heart disease and lung cancer.

In related news, the largest-ever study of heart disease in 21 industrialized countries found that deaths from the disease are declining. The World Health Organization study, recently published in The Lancet medical journal and called the MONICA Project, followed research subjects over a period of 10 years.

The decline was attributed to better treatments for the disease, which reduce fatalities, as well as less incidence of the disease overall.


Business Wire and Reuters - May 6 and 7, 1999

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