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OPINION SURVEY COMMISSIONED BY JOHNSON & JOHNSON REVEALS NATIONWIDE CONCERN FOR HEALTH OF MOTHERS AND CHILDREN

 OPINION SURVEY COMMISSIONED BY JOHNSON & JOHNSON REVEALS
 NATIONWIDE CONCERN FOR HEALTH OF MOTHERS AND CHILDREN
 WASHINGTON, April 30 /PRNewswire/ -- A new national opinion survey reveals concern by the general public about the country's priorities, especially the lack of attention being paid to the problems affecting the health status of America's children.
 Released in Washington at a national "Summit on Children's Health" attended by health policy officials and business leaders, the survey also reveals a belief by the American public that corporations should play a larger role in improving maternal and child health.
 "What these findings make clear is that corporations must increase their efforts to address the needs of the most vulnerable, our children, whose future health and promise is at stake," said Ralph Larsen, chairman and chief executive officer of Johnson & Johnson, in announcing the survey results.
 "Corporations such as ours should recognize that it makes a great deal more sense to be a part of the solution, doing everything we can to make sure that children are born healthy -- and stay that way," added Jonathan Fielding, vice president, health policy analysis and planning, of Johnson & Johnson, who also spoke during the summit on children.
 Conducted for Johnson & Johnson by the Wirthlin Group, the survey polled 1,000 American adults in April 1992, revealing an overwhelming belief that many pregnant women don't receive the basic care they need. Nearly four in five Americans (79 percent) hold this view, indicating strong concern that the country needs to step up efforts to address this problem.
 By specifically asking the public to rank the importance of certain social issues, the survey also serves as a barometer of Americans' priorities on maternal and child health. On a scale of 1 (not very important) to 10 (extremely important), Americans rated drug abuse (9.1) and the impact of poverty on children (9.0) as the most pressing issues for the country to address. Prenatal care for pregnant women (8.6), reducing infant mortality (8.4), and unintended teen pregnancies (8.3) also rank very high in terms of public concern.
 However, when the survey asked people whether the country is paying attention to these issues, the findings demonstrate a public perception that these problems are being overlooked. Using the same 10-point rating scale, those surveyed said that drug abuse, while not getting enough attention, is the issue receiving the highest priority (6.0). In contrast, the needs of pregnant women and children are viewed as receiving little attention by the country. Perceptions of how people rank the country's focus on these issues are as follows: prenatal care (5.4), infant mortality (4.6), the impact of poverty on children (4.4), and unintended teen pregnancies (4.4).
 The survey also focused on the role of corporations, indicating strong public support for companies to expand their efforts to improve the health of mothers and children. When asked what corporations should do, the survey shows that people strongly prefer programs that directly benefit employees. Specifically, the survey reveals that Americans want corporations to create employment policies, such as flexible work schedules and child care programs, that allow employees to spend more time with the family (an average importance rating of 8.2 on a 10-point scale). Providing employees with programs to help them and their families live healthier also ranked as a priority for corporations (8.1).
 On average, Americans also sanction the actions of corporations to advocate
policy change (8.0). Rated only slightly less important are actions to help educate the public (7.8), encouraging employees to volunteer in community programs (7.8), and making financial contributions to national, state or community programs that help pregnant women and children (7.1).
 On the public's understanding of maternal and child health issues, the survey findings are mixed. While the vast majority of Americans (79 percent) correctly realize that pregnancies don't "take care of themselves" and that proper prenatal care is needed, when it comes to children's health risk factors, the public needs more information. According to the survey, many (37 percent) are unaware that lead poisoning remains a significant problem and 66 percent don't know that vaccination rates are falling. In addition, 30 percent don't know that accidental injuries are the largest cause of childhood deaths.
 "Taken together, these survey findings provide a blueprint for action," Larsen said. "The public cares very deeply about these issues and it's time for government and business to respond."
 Johnson & Johnson commissioned the survey as part of its new Maternal and Child Initiative that will provide approximately $15 million over the next five years in funding and other resources to impact the health of mothers and children.
 Under this initiative, the company will encourage positive changes in the nation's health care system, with special emphasis on the health and well-being of children and pregnant women. The company is also increasing its corporate contributions directed to maternal and child health projects. The third area of focus involves Johnson & Johnson's role as a national employer. Here, the corporation plans to promote improved maternal and child health among its more than 82,000 employees and their families and to make the company's workforce aware of opportunities for local volunteerism.
 Johnson & Johnson is the world's largest and most comprehensive manufacturer of health care products serving the consumer, pharmaceutical, diagnostics and professional markets. The company has 166 operating companies in 54 countries around the world, selling products in more than 150 countries.
 -0- 4/30/92
 /CONTACT: David Swearingen of Johnson & Johnson, 908-524-3538, or home, 908-389-9641; or Nancy Glick of Hill and Knowlton, 202-944-5087, for Johnson & Johnson/
 (JNJ) CO: Johnson & Johnson ST: New Jersey IN: HEA SU: ECO


GK -- NY031 -- 4799 04/30/92 09:49 EDT
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Date:Apr 30, 1992
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