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New Driving Our Health Study From Anthem, Inc. Explores Americans’ Perceptions About What Influences Health

Anthem launches campaign with track and field star Allyson Felix to raise awareness about what’s driving our health

As a result of the pandemic, the public has spent more time than ever thinking about their health and the health of their communities. However, new data from Anthem, Inc., suggests that many aren’t fully connecting the dots on what makes us healthy. In fact, nearly half of Americans (46%) are unaware of the importance of social drivers of health (SDoH) – external factors like nutritious food, safe housing, and reliable transportation – that play a key role in determining health outcomes. But the current attention on health provides an opportunity to expand our understanding of whole health, and ultimately improve the health and vitality of people across the nation.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here:

Our health is determined by more than what happens in the doctor’s office. Explore the infographic to see how the lives and health of everyday Americans can be affected by social drivers like housing, transportation, and food insecurity. (Graphic: Anthem, Inc. )

Our health is determined by more than what happens in the doctor’s office. Explore the infographic to see how the lives and health of everyday Americans can be affected by social drivers like housing, transportation, and food insecurity. (Graphic: Anthem, Inc. )

To do this, Anthem conducted a nationally representative survey of 5,000 U.S. adults. The results, outlined in Driving Our Health: A study exploring health perceptions in America, provide a baseline for how Americans think about whole health at this unique moment in time and how different factors and experiences can shape health outcomes. Anthem is proud to share the study findings in partnership with health advocate and history-making track and field athlete Allyson Felix.

“As an athlete, I’m constantly thinking about how to be and stay healthy. But more importantly, as a Black woman and a mother who experienced serious complications during the birth of my daughter, healthcare disparities are never far from my mind,” said Allyson Felix. “Issues like racial disparities in maternal health are thankfully gaining more attention, but even things we don’t think of as being related to health, such as transportation and air quality, can have a direct impact on our well-being. That’s why I am excited to partner with Anthem to share these important survey findings and spark dialogue about the need for addressing all the factors that shape health. By recognizing that behavioral, social, and physical drivers all work together to determine our whole health, we can improve the health of all communities in America.”

With Allyson’s help, Anthem is calling on individuals to learn more about whole health and its drivers – starting with exploring the Driving Our Health study and sharing what they learn with others. Anthem has been focused on the social drivers of health for over 75 years in an effort to improve the lives and communities we serve and be a trusted partner. Along with the Anthem Foundation and through other enterprise initiatives, Anthem has and continues to create and support programs that focus on health equity, creating connections, improving outcomes, and removing barriers to care.

Other highlights from the study include:

  • The pandemic increased consumers’ consciousness of physical and mental health. Eight in 10 Gen Z’ers agree the pandemic has made them more conscious of their whole health, with about half reporting strong agreement (49% vs. 41% Baby Boomers).
  • SDoH consequences are prevalent and disproportionately affect certain groups, including people of color. Among people of color, two-thirds believe their local community is facing health issues related to social drivers. This is significantly higher than the percentage of White Americans who report these issues in their local community.
  • Respondents believe that action is needed to address these disparities, but no one entity is responsible for solving these issues alone. Americans believe healthcare, government, community, non-profit, and other entities have a responsibility to address SDoH and health disparities collectively.

“We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to be and stay healthy. This starts by taking a broader view of health. At Anthem, we are committed to looking at the many factors that contribute to individual health and partnering in the smartest ways to improve it,” said Anthem Chief Health Officer, Shantanu Agrawal, M.D. “Allyson Felix is one of the world’s greatest athletes and most passionate advocates for health equity. We're proud to partner with her to deepen Americans’ understanding of whole health and what drives it.”

That’s why Anthem is utilizing these findings to elevate the national conversation around whole health and its drivers with the ultimate goal of improving health in communities across the country. Making a difference at the community level is critical, because health is increasingly determined by the zip code we live in, rather than the doctors we see. That means communities play a vital role in sustaining health.

“This work builds on promising opportunities to improve consumers’ health more holistically, looking at social, behavioral, and physical drivers of health, and providing awareness to better understand what consumers need most to support their health,” said Agrawal.

“Because health happens at the community level and social drivers affect every single one of us, we’re asking you to engage in this conversation and learn more about the social drivers of your own health.”

To hear more from Dr. Agrawal, and for more information about the study findings and what shapes whole health, visit the What’s Driving Our Health microsite and Driving Our Health Instagram.

Survey and Claims Methodology

The Driving Our Health study was conducted among a nationally representative sample of 5,000 U.S. adults above the age of 18. Participant data was collected via a 25-minute, online survey. The margin of error for the national sample is +/-1.4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. The sample is nationally representative according to the U.S. Census on overall age, gender, region, urban/rural, and ethnicity/race.

An additional 500+ adults within each of the Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Cross Blue Shield states (California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin) were also surveyed.

The study also incorporates data from third-party sources, such as the CDC and EPA, to compare consumer perceptions uncovered by the survey to a measured reality.

About Anthem, Inc.

Anthem is a leading health benefits company dedicated to improving lives and communities, and making healthcare simpler. Through its affiliated companies, Anthem serves more than 117 million people, including more than 45 million within its family of health plans. We aim to be the most innovative, valuable and inclusive partner. For more information, please visit or follow @AnthemInc on Twitter.

Anthem, Inc. launches the #DrivingOurHealth study findings to start a national conversation around whole health & all the factors that drive it.


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