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Cultivating a Culture of Health

NORC explores Americans’ divergent beliefs about and attitudes toward health

A variety of factors influence how we deal with personal and public health challenges—socioeconomic status, access to care, and access to other social determinants of health like housing and transportation. At the same time, the values, beliefs, experiences, and attitudes that shape our thinking also influence our health care decisions. NORC recently conducted the American Health Values Survey (AHVS), a study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) as part of its Culture of Health Initiative. The AHVS asked more than 10,000 adults about their values and beliefs related to health at the individual, community, and societal levels. These measures included items related to how health conscious they are in their daily lives, how much they value civic engagement, and whether it is the responsibility of government, the private sector, or some combination of the two to make communities healthier places to live.

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The AHVS asked more than 10,000 adults about their health-related values and beliefs.

Among the many uses of these data, understanding Americans’ divergent attitudes toward health can help inform communication and engagement efforts that promote individual and public health. NORC also recently replicated the survey in five RWJF Sentinel Communities across the nation—Baltimore, Maryland; Stockton, California; Maricopa County, Arizona; Mobile, Alabama; and a nine-county region in North Central Nebraska.