(LOUISVILLE, Ky – June 8, 2016) — Kentuckians living in the Greater Lexington area are more likely than their counterparts across the Commonwealth to describe their health as “excellent” or “very good,” and they also report higher incomes than Kentuckians as a whole, according to the latest Kentucky Health Issues Poll (KHIP). Nonetheless, they’re just as likely to report a member of their household has delayed or not received medical care because of the cost, and a similar percentage report that family members and friends have had problems with heroin and prescription pain medicine abuse.

In addition, people living in the 17-county Greater Lexington region fall in line with other Kentuckians in strongly favoring tobacco-free school campuses (85 percent statewide, 91 percent for Greater Lexington) and a statewide smoke-free law (66 percent statewide; 71 percent Greater Lexington), and in believing that it is difficult to make the personal changes necessary to improve their health (65 percent statewide, 62 percent for Greater Lexington).

“Overall, what we’re finding with these reports is that an increasing number of Kentuckians have health insurance, but many are still delaying or simply can’t afford necessary health care,” said Susan Zepeda, President/CEO of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. “We also see growing support for smoke-free policies across the Commonwealth. Kentucky adults in every region recognize that improving diet, getting more exercise and quitting smoking could help improve personal health, but the changes are difficult. Policies around these areas could help all Kentuckians improve their personal health.”

The Foundation and Cincinnati-based Interact for Health fund the annual KHIP poll. The findings, divided into five regional reports (Eastern KentuckyGreater Lexington, Greater Louisville, Northern Kentucky, and Western Kentucky) are now available online at www.healthy-ky.org.

“Local public health officials, health coalitions and other community leaders find these regionalized opinion polls extremely useful in moving forward with their plans to improve Kentucky’s health,” Zepeda said.

Among the findings in the Greater Lexington KHIP report:

  • 85 percent of Kentuckians (and 91 percent of the Greater Lexington populace) favor tobacco-free campus policies for schools, while just 29 percent of Kentucky’s school districts have adopted such policies;
  • 66 percent of Kentuckians (71 percent of Greater Lexington) favor a statewide law prohibiting smoking in most public places;
  • Opinion regarding increasing the excise tax on a pack of cigarettes by $1 is split (52 percent of the Greater Lexington population favors the tax and 43 percent oppose it, compared to 45 percent of Kentuckians overall in favor and 51 percent opposed);
  • A majority support increasing to 21 the minimum age to buy tobacco products (58 percent of the Greater Lexington population, 60 percent of Kentuckians overall, in favor);
  • 83 percent of Kentuckians (76 percent the Greater Lexington population) say reducing the cost of health care is a key issue for elected officials;
    Similarly, 81 percent (77 percent of the Greater Lexington population) consider improving the health of Kentuckians important;
  • 9 percent of Greater Lexington adults were uninsured compared to 13 percent of Kentuckians overall, and 22 percent of Greater Lexington households had trouble paying medical bills, compared to 28 percent of Kentucky households overall;
  • 19 percent of Greater Lexington adults reported a person in their household delayed or did not get needed medical care because of the cost (20 percent for Kentuckians overall);
  • The Greater Lexington population reported a favorable opinion regarding the Affordable Care Act (43 percent) similar to that of the state (14 percent) and 51 percent said the law had no impact on them (50 percent of Kentuckians overall);
  • Heroin use has caused problems for 14 percent of the Greater Lexington populations’ family members and friends, compared to 13 percent of Kentucky inhabitants statewide; and
  • 51 percent of the Greater Lexington adults report “very good” or “excellent” health, compared to 43 percent of their counterparts statewide.

The poll was conducted Sept. 17, 2015, through Oct. 7, 2015, by the Institute for Policy Research at the University of Cincinnati. A random sample of 1,608 adults from throughout Kentucky was interviewed by telephone, including landlines and cell phones. The poll has a margin of error of ±2.4 percent (Greater Lexington ±5.6 percent). The associated complete KHIP data file, codebook and survey instrument will be posted by June 30 at http://www.oasisdataarchive.org) alongside other KHIP data files from previous years.

About the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky

Since the Foundation opened its doors in 2001, it has invested over $26 million in health policy research, advocacy and pilot project grants across the Commonwealth. Funded by an endowment, the mission of the Foundation is to address the unmet health care needs of Kentuckians by informing and influencing health policy, improving access to care, reducing health risks and disparities, and promoting health equity. Follow the Foundation on Twitter and on Facebook, or visit our website at www.healthy-ky.org.

Media Contacts:

Bonnie J. Hackbarth

Angela Koch