Survey on total cardiovascular risk shows significant gap between patient education and action

November 10, 2003 A nationwide survey released today suggests that American adults are overly optimistic about their risk of heart disease and give themselves an inflated "report card" for their current personal risk profile and prevention efforts. A Harris Interactive® survey of more than 2,000 adults revealed that while most people were aware of the dangers of unhealthy lifestyles and diets and that most believe they are trying to change their ways, other objective measures of American's actual behaviors do not confirm their personal assessment.

The survey, conducted on behalf of The Pfizer Journal®, found that more than half of those surveyed did not think they are at any or much risk of having a heart attack (57%) or a stroke (62%) within the next five years. Only 59% believed that cardiovascular disease was the number one killer. Most people surveyed reported that they were taking steps to reduce their total cardiovascular risks, but there is evidence that the majority of the population is not.

"Despite repeated efforts made by physicians and public health officials to educate Americans about cardiovascular disease, obesity, and other risk factors, the majority still do not believe that are at risk for developing heart disease," said past President of the American Heart Association, Robert Bonow, M.D. "As physicians, we must redouble our efforts to communicate to our patients the personal risks associated with the nation's number one health threat."

Many surveyed adults say they are at little or no risk of suffering a heart attack, stroke or diabetes in the next five years and are not at all concerned about cardiovascular conditions.

  • Only one-third (32%) of adults express concerns about angina/coronary heart disease/heart attack
  • One fifth (19%) of adults said that they were at no risk at all of suffering a heart attack in the next five years.
  • An estimated one-half of people over age 20 have high b

Contact: Mechal Weiss
Edelman Public Relations

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