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The Listening Project

Winter 2013 - Health

Our nation’s health has been in the news quite a bit recently, from the growing obesity epidemic to the changes in our health care system. We gave you the opportunity to let your voice be heard and tell us what kind of health coverage you’re most interested in.

One hundred and fifty-five (155) of you responded to this Listening Project about Health – here are some of the highlights. 

Question 1: Which statement best describes you and your family’s health?

Question 1

The majority of people (69.1%) answered that their family either “Regularly” or “Occasionally” exercises and eats well and 26.8% said they were either “The Only One” in their family that eats well or that their “Whole Family” eats well and exercises.

“Most Americans rate their ‘healthiness’ higher than it actually is - but my husband is Indian, so he keeps us in line.”

“Most families do not eat well and exercise and that is driving up health care costs.”

“It doesn’t cost more to eat well and when you are unemployed and have schedule flexibility you can find some lower cost community exercise programs but seeing my regular doctors is too expensive.  I haven’t yet explored the free clinic options however.”

“I am actively following Weight Watchers.  I get intentional physical activity 3 days per week.  I am struggling to consistently get to my target of 5 days per week.  I average 7 servings of fruits & vegetables per day.”

“The cost of healthcare isn’t preventing better eating, it’s more a question of access, quantity/quality, especially in produce = healthy choices.”

“Eat fresh, no preservatives. Want a reason that cancer cases have been on the rise for the last 20 years: look at our diet.”

“It’s difficult for my neighbors to eat well because we live in a food desert, and their finances are limited.  I garden and go to the Coit Road Farmers’ Market, but it’s difficult to get there on public transportation in East Cleveland because everything stops at the Windermere Station.”

“We are frustrated by the obesity epidemic.  It is completely avoidable; people just do not exercise their bodies like they should.”

“My family and I eat well, vegan, actually, exercise sometimes and almost never see a doctor. I am self-employed and even if I did want to participate in what I feel is a very corrupt and unsustainable health care system, it is too expensive.  I have most everything else in life I want or need, except for that.”

Question 2: Where do you go when you are sick?

Question 2

The majority of people (74%) said they see their primary care physician when sick. Others (18.7%) said they see or use other methods and very few participants (7.3%) use an urgent clinic, the emergency room or a low-cost or free clinic.

“Self-selected doctor/specialty from Cleveland Clinic doctor directory.”

“Last 2 years went to urgent-care, but recently got a primary care doctor.”

“Pray to God.”


“I go to work as always then I go home and try to get some extra rest I medicate with herbs, etc.”

“I usually take care of myself, and try to stay away from doctors if possible.”

“Primary care doctor or do not go due to health coverage.”

“TO BED! After 45 years of Type 1 Diabetes I’ve come to know the medical establishment quite well, so I only use it if there is a particular service I want them to help me with.”

“I am rarely ill, but usually self-medicate. I currently have no insurance.”

Question 3: What do you think is the most common reason people become obese?

Question 3

The majority of people (41.4%) said “Poor Nutrition” was the reason why people become obese. There was nearly a tie between “Not Enough Exercise” (20.7%) and “Over-eating” (26.7%) and few people (11.2%) believed that genetics or stress are reasons people become obese.

“All of the above. There is no one reason. Government interference is not the answer.  For example, the NYC mayor.”

“Very difficult to choose one reason - as someone previously morbidly obese, I believe that the causes are inter-related and complex.  ‘Stress’ does not begin to cover the psychological components - depression, poor self-esteem, resignation…”

“Physicians who do not provide professional help.”

“It’s really a combination of all of the above - but in general, people eat too much and too much of the wrong types of foods.”

“Poor nutrition and lack of exercise close tie!”

“Since the simple ‘Calories In - Calories Out’ equation has now been medically debunked, quality nutrition, blood sugar level management, and eating schedules are gaining importance.”

“I think that many of us use food as a reward or stress reducer.  It is easy to over indulge in these moments.”

“Prepared food too easily available, we seem to have a problem identifying proper portion sizes.”

“I am astounded at what people eat and how much.  Chains restaurants are killing us. Lack of education in cooking, meal planning, and basic nutrition has seriously impacted our ability to make informed healthy choices.”

“I think stress leads to all the other problems listed and they are all factors in obesity. Also I think the fact that manufacturers now put sugar in almost everything is also a factor. And many people don’t have the opportunity to exercise.”

“We eat far TOO MUCH animal based food!”

“Schools have reduced to almost nothing the requirement of physical education. In earlier years even recess was a physical episode. Most of us do not know the hazards of salt and sugar in our diet.”

“I think that all of these are possibilities for reasons obesity exists. If you eat unhealthily and don’t exercise, and then teach your children similarly, you’re enforcing bad behavior and a lifetime of fighting against your body.”

Question 4: What is the best way to keep children from becoming obese? (Choose all that apply)

Question 4

The majority of people (88.5%) said parent should model good habits for children, while (29.5%) said children should be educated about the dangers of gaining weight. Also, about half of participants chose “Better Nutrition & Exercise at School” and “Make Soft Drinks & Fast Food Occasional Treats” as the best ways to keep children from becoming obese.

“Definitely no government interference.”

“Again… ‘best’?  Perhaps the best way is not to oversimplify.  My entire generation drifted toward plumpness despite the good examples of Depression Era parents and grandparents.  Isolating a single ‘treatment’ is silly (and futile).”

“These children get barely any movement at school.  They get to eat and have recess for 40 minutes and gym only once a week.  Otherwise, they are sitting at a desk then go home and sit to do homework.”

“I think it’s a combination of good parenting and example, as well as information (via schools) and the requirement (i.e. gym classes) to exercise - too much emphasis on computers and technology.”

“Walk to school.”

“Getting them away from the computer a few hours a day would help.”

“Good affordable after school programs - and ways to get kids there.  The local library is crowded with kids after school - a better option than hanging out on the streets and often safer than latchkey but there’s no physical activity. Keep me busy - but it needs to be affordable.  Pay to play sports and high priced dance and other lessons exclude too many kids.”

“Get a dog to play with.”

“Wouldn’t it be better to TEACH nutrition and health in school in the early grades?”

“It’s no secret what we are doing wrong. It’s also no secret what we have to do right. Whatever happened to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness that I remember from when I was in school?  None of my kids have ever even taken a gym class. There is so much science available to us but the China Study doesn’t have the ad budget of McDonald’s or Burger King. The bad food lobbying just buries any messages about good nutrition and the ensuing good health. PBS has doctors on who talk about this. Why aren’t they all on mainstream media with their message of continued health from a plant-based diet and at least some exercise? There should be a tax added to all soda pop that should be used to reimburse Medicaid and Medicare for all the additional health care a person will need if they consume that regularly.”

“It takes a village.”

“Parents must keep active with their children: walk and play together, go to the zoo, etc. Encourage fast and energetic walking and working. I see too many folks ambling so slowly through Wal-Mart, it’s hard to imagine.”

“Hopefully fast food would not be used as treats.”

“Pop and fast food should be occasional, but they should not be ‘treats’ - because that only exalts them, and cravings for them.  True treats should be good for us.  It is especially important to get this ‘messaging’ right in raising children who will have healthy adult lives.”

Question 5: Where do you or would you get information about healthy ways to lose weight? (Choose all that apply)

Question 5

These results depict how much the internet is used as a health resource (70.4%). The number of people who ask their doctor (59.1%) or read written material (55.7%) on various ways to lose weight are pretty high as well.

“Our culture is information-wealthy.  The important thing is for the individual to make a rational decision after having considered all these sources of (contradictory) advice.”

“It’s a combination of the above - as well as trial and error.”

“I went to the Lifestyle 180 program at the Cleveland Clinic Integrative Medicine Department and got clued in to ways to lose and manage weight and other nutrition and fitness related health issues.”

“Last time I spoke to a doctor about my weight they tried to sell me weight loss shakes out of their office.  When I pointed out that studies indicate that losing weight that way is not maintained and leads to ‘YoYo’ dieting, she made a personal attack on me.  I am very unwilling to talk to doctors about weight any more given how little education they get in nutrition and exercise.”

“The challenge is changing priorities: healthy versus ‘easy’ or ‘habitual’; health versus watching TV or playing video games; staying indoors instead of enjoying the outdoors. The challenge of making the ‘good choices’ top priority.”

“I am a health care provider so I get info in a variety of places.”


“Doctors are already too burdened with new drug education, continuing disease management issues and increased patient loads to help much here. Nurse Practitioners, Physician Assistants and Dietitians need to be better deployed.”

“Diane Rehm’s and Ann Fisher’s (All Sides WOSU) have really good topical programs on all aspects of health.”

“I’m diabetic and my insurance company provides me with a dietitian and a nurse health coach and that where I get most of my information.”

“Losing weight is only a result. We should be talking about lifestyle.”

“I have self-educated myself about nutrition through reading articles, books and listening to the radio.  I consider myself extremely well informed on the nutritional content of food and calorie content.”

“TV and radio push the ‘fast and easy’ routes, which are usually neither.”

“Self-help books.”

“Most of my friends are not overweight and it is not much of a topic of conversation.”

“If people were exposed to as much informative nutrition information as they see pharmaceutical advertising, they would see the light. Bad nutrition is a ‘ticking time bomb’.  Most people don’t take the time or have the time to be as informed as they need to be.”

Question 6: What best describes your own weight?

Question 6

About half of the participants rated themselves as “Thin” or “Proportionate to their height” and the other half rated themselves as “A few pounds heavy” to “Obese.”

“I lost 200 pounds.  I’m still fat in my mind.”

“I lost 16 pounds following a Paleo diet. I stay on this diet (lifestyle choice) and my weight remains steady, no cravings, feel great.”

“I do think that the BMI is good but needs to be revamped for differences in body composition - I am fairly muscular but my height and weight almost push me into the danger zone for BMI.”

“Thin, with a hint of a spare tire that is bothersome - have discovered I can reduce it and keep on the “hint” side with effort.  It does take effort.”

“Being fat is not a choice you make.  The few people I’ve known to lose large amounts of weight have done so with massive life style changes.  I have a child with ASD.  I work full time.  My husband works full time.  I don’t have to time to exercise 4 hours a day.  It makes me very angry when people who are thin (and don’t work very hard to be thin) think is it easy.”

“I am actively trying to lose weight.”

“I have AIDS so, losing weight, but am maintaining a steady weight, luckily!”

“I live in a 400 sq. ft. apartment which makes sufficient exercisable movement rather difficult.”

“Been this way for 40 of my 55 years on earth, don’t think much of anything is going to drastically change me now. After a major auto accident without any medical/rehab coverage it’s kind of a vicious cycle between health issues which prevent much exercise, poverty, and transportation issues.”

“Ride your bike… it feels good… it is easier to stay in shape than get in shape.”


“I juice, work out 4x a week, count calories, but treat myself to sweets when I want.”

“I have a plan to lose.”

“I am guilty of too much food and not enough exercise just like everyone else here.”

“Elderly & newly-retired at risk to become obese as my lifestyle (go) from sedentary to yet-more-sedentary or from moderately active to nearly totally inactive, suddenly.”

“I have lost 20 pounds since Thanksgiving! Will continue.”

“Have started this year with some changes in my diet & implementing some exercise into my daily routine.”

“Here we go with the conflation of ‘fat’ (actually ‘overweight’) and ‘obese’ again.”

“Just one of the lucky ones who doesn’t have to work hard to stay thin.”

Question 7: ideastream has earmarked childhood obesity as a topic for health coverage in 2013. Please describe the some issues related to this topic that you think are worth exploring and tell us why you think they are important.

“Restore physical education classes and outdoor recess in school.”

“Lack of exercise in school; school lunches that really aren’t that healthy not to mention fruit/vegetables that go to waste because have to choose one; community gardens for schools where each grade would have a plot to plant fruits and vegetables.”

“Children spend far less time outside playing than we did as young children. There doesn’t seem to be a good balance anymore between technology and unstructured outdoor activities.”

“Reliance on games and media means children don’t just go and do other things that require them to be more active and parents allow this to happen; children need opportunities and structure for lots of different activities (not just sports) that require activity.”

“Children need to learn to enjoy natural veggies and meats, not over- and/or artificially sweetened foods. Homes, restaurants, and schools need to have pure foods prepared simply; sweets are for the occasional treat.”

“When I grew up in the 1950’s & 1960’s my parents did not have soft drinks in the home on a regular basis. They were expensive in terms of our family income for one reason.  It was a real revelation to go a friend’s house where soft drinks were given us as snacks and then served later with meals we ate there.  My brothers & I unaccustomed to regularly drinking carbonated beverages couldn’t stand the sharp taste of the carbonation in most of them and usually left most of the proffered drink on the table.  On the few occasions when my parents did buy soft drinks for a party or family gathering at a holiday my parents never gave us the whole bottle but rather poured it out into a small glass and then diluted the drink with water to make it sting less on our uninitiated tongues and throats.  My mother did not buy Kool-Aid which was expensive itself but then took over two cups of expensive and unhealthy sugar per pitcher to make.  Cokes and most soft drinks came in smaller 7 oz sizes in the few vending machines that were around.  Juice boxes did not exist.  I’ve watched my nephew and niece with genetics that are apparently similar to mine grow up in the 1990’s and this current decade consuming gallons of soft drinks and juices on a daily basis as they go through their days and both have developed a pudginess that may be the result. They are only just keeping up with the behaviors of their cousins and school mates and friends.”

“Start with parent’s role.  It all starts at home.”

“The lack of healthy food choices.”

“Relationship between TV use and obesity.  I’m curious if the new interactive games like Wii actually have any impact.  I’m interested in the affordability of healthy food.  Right now I’m happy to be giving my daughter a variety of fruits and vegetables in the form of baby food, but I wonder about my ability to keep the options open when switching to table food.  Produce can be costly, especially when things aren’t in season.”

“Chemicals in foods and genetically modified crops might be causing hormonal or other chemical changes in everybody. Children are likely more sensitive to things like these.”

“Economics of fitness - families need safe places for kids to play - and many just can’t afford after school programs and/or get kids to them.”

“Food commercial saturation in Mass Media, targeted/tracked media like the Internet, and popular culture outlets like movies.”

Question 8: According to the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, the food industry spends over $1.6 billion per year in the U.S. on marketing targeted to young people. The overwhelming majority of these ads are for unhealthy products, high in calories, sugar, fat, and/or sodium.  Which statement best describes your feelings about a connection between obesity in children and commercials for unhealthy food products?

Question 8

A huge majority of respondents (97.5%) relate obesity in children to advertising.

“Strong families provide the best guidance.”

“As the wife of a marketing research expert, I believe that it is important to give advertising its due - but to take personal responsibility for problems as well.  A shift in consciousness is needed, not just fewer ads.”

“Up to the parents to reduce screen time and reduce exposure to bad ads.”

“It is the responsibility of parents and teachers to make children aware that these are marketing techniques driven by business, not concerns for our health. Discourage children from focusing on bad food choices by explaining why they are bad.”

“It can’t help, but obviously kids aren’t picking their own diets.”

“A fish does not know she is in water.  It is her world.  Commercial saturation is the world of too many children.”

“Advertising is a major factor in adult obesity rates as well.”

“Food packaging and placement - esp. in schools and coupons for highly-processed foods greatly impact the choices for those of us living on a low-income.”

“We need child chow like puppy chow to keep kids healthy.”

“Garbage in, garbage outcomes.”

“Legal sanctions should be used along with ways of rewarding responsible food providers like whole foods.”

“We have to realize, corporations’ PR goes far beyond their commercials in the media.”

“That food is cheap to make and somewhat addictive.”

“I’m 52 - we also saw lots of such commercials as children, but we got a lot more outdoor exercise both at home and at school; however, we never had candy or soda machines in the school - that doesn’t belong in the schools.”

“It’s so bad especially during cartoons.”

“Children do NOT live in a democracy. What are the parents doing? Don’t THEY know any better? Of course not! My niece used to yell at her 5 yr. old daughter about how fat she was (idiot). I said, “Yeah, stop driving yourself to MickyD’s!” Wow, amazing. The food and health industries dig a hole, and collect the dollars as they push American consumers towards it. They spend $1.6B Because It Works. Because They Can. Because Americans turn on the box and turn off their brain. What other outcome can be expected?”

“So much money would not be spent on advertising if it were not effective.  Children are easily influenced, even as they are by television violence.”

“They’re CHILDREN! They can want all the snacks and goodies in the world, the blame is on who’s giving these products to the children! As parents, we need to assume responsibility for our children’s lives and be good role models! Sure it may be easier to pacify a child with something sweet or yummy, but parenting is not meant to be easy; you have to be the one standing behind your child doing what is best for them!!!”

Question 9: Seeking to reduce runaway obesity rates, the New York City Board of Health approved a ban on the sale of sweetened drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces.  The measure is to take effect on March 12, 2013 unless it is blocked by a judge.  Which statement below best reflects your feelings about this law?

Question 9

“NEVER legislated.”

“Somebody could buy (2) 16 ounce beverages but not a 24 ounce beverage.  Not to mention intrusive on personal rights.”

“We are mistaken if we believe that the lack of regulation of the diet means that our population is exercising free will--we are unaware of our own conditioning, for the most part.  This is a beginning--but a very tiny step toward wellness.”

“Change has got to start somewhere!”

“Government protects us from toxins in water and air, etc. - this is really no different.”

“Deep down I dislike this big brother attitude but the other part of me says so what - people don’t need those gigantic drinks!!”

“There is no reason to have any drink larger than 16 ounces. Those who want more will get another one, anyway. It is meant to be creating an awareness of the danger of sugar consumption.”

“This one is hard - as since there is little or no regulation or decency on food advertising/portion sizes/information on what you are eating - it’s hard to know what the correct thing to do is.”

“Better controls on truthful advertising, required nutritional disclosure, and education are better. But the Federal government isn’t acting on much of anything these days -if they won’t do it maybe local governments do need to take a hard line - the costs of poor health hit our communities hard.”

“People make poor choices when given the opportunity.  Things like this encourage you to think more about what you’re putting in your body.  If you’re still thirsty, have 2, just be aware of it.”

“We need soda like a hole in the head.”

“No one is preventing you from eating or drinking as much as you want.  Buy two!  Buy four!  But if we’re going to scream free market let’s talk about how your poor diet choices impact my health care costs.”

“Actually I am VERY leery of all the things that are being legislated too much.  It really should be the most local School Boards that make this sort of rules.”

“No way!  The government has no business dictating how we live our lives.”

“Eating unhealthily is not just a personal choice as long as society pays collectively for the cost of its resulting healthcare!  People do NOT have the right to BANKRUPT OUR COUNTRY just because they don’t want to bother with healthy eating.”

“Frankenwheat is the worst culprit!!!”

“I don’t drink soda pop but how do keep someone from buying two 16 ounce containers?  Eating, drinking, and smoking while driving is dangerous too and should be illegal.  I once saw a woman reading a book while driving...”

“I think Cleveland’s ban on Trans Fats was a great thing.  What is missing is the expose on why the legislature overturned this ban and the connection of lawmakers to the food industry. Reporters should get at the root of the connections between the food industry and lawmakers and how this leads to inaction.”

“Seriously, like this is going to work? How long have you folks lived in America? This is capitalism in action, baby! They (Coke, Pepsi, etc.) are allowed to sell all of the poison products they want, but that doesn’t mean we have to DRINK them. Think It Through! Whenever man has a choice of courses of action, he always chooses the wrong one. Sigh. Of course, if *I* owned Coca-Cola, I’d do EXACTLY what they do, because it’s all about profits. Hmmmm. Unfortunately, I’m one of those “People before Profits” losers.”

Question 10: Should employers be allowed to cite obesity as a reason for not hiring an individual?

Question 10

This question had mixed responses. The majority of people disagreed (46.5%) or were unsure (25%). Nonetheless, there are some individuals (28.4%) who agreed employers should be allowed to cite obesity as a reason for not hiring an individual.

“Obesity is not a reason not to hire unless the condition affects job performance.  Employees should be encouraged to lead healthy lifestyles, however, and rewarded for doing so.  And insurance rates should be higher for those at greater risk - economically, that is practical.”

“There should be no discrimination against those who are obese.”

“No way.”

“Obesity leads to many other health issues which could affect an employee’s ability to do their job.  It could lead to much missed time from work due to health issues.”

“Is it really just about money anymore?  Afraid they will cost more in insurance?  You wouldn’t cite gender or race as a reason so why obesity - if they can do the job, I don’t care who they are.”

“Being overweight is a disability.  Further, assume you don’t believe that expect for people who have thyroid problems… is a employer allowed to not hire someone because they have a thyroid problem but can otherwise do the work?  How would an employer know the person they are excluding is not fat for being “lazy” but has a documented health issue?”

“The person can always change. Should be given a chance.”

“There are too many reasons outside someone’s control that contribute to obesity.  Further, if obese people cannot get jobs, they probably can’t get health care, which then perpetuates the problem.”

“I’ve been overweight - sometimes obese - for most of my life and do not believe that my talents, my work ethic, the ability to comprehend and accomplish what is expected of me, the energy and stamina required of the jobs I’ve held in the public sector as well as the Veterans Administration have made me detrimental to the greater cause. I retired from the VA 3 years ago.”

“Tough one… needs lots of careful and caring consideration.”

“It shouldn’t be an EEOC matter, though.  Employers SHOULD be engaged with the concept of continual improvement & development of their employees… and - using obesity as an example - help them improve, continuously & continually in their jobs and in their whole lives.”

“It’s disgusting.”

“Not as long as it’s still considered a medical condition. If Race, Religion, Gender, and Sexual Orientation and Genetic Pre-dispositions are to be considered employment neutral, then weight must also fall into this category. See: Chris Christie.”

“People hire people that they like.  Do you seriously think that the laws can influence the hiring process?”

“Smoking, heavy drinking, other drug use, and obesity should all be factors, but not the major factors, in employment.”

“Absolutely NOT!  Some people DO have a genetic predisposition for obesity! As I stated early, I feel stress is a large factor in American obesity.  Keeping someone unemployed because of their weight only increases stress!”

“I think it depends on the industry.  It isn’t the happiest or fairest way to hire employees - but in cases like the Clinic and their policies, it makes sense.  Why would you want to hire an obese doctor who tells people to lose weight?  But for industries outside of health care I don’t think it’s fair.”

“Employers should be allowed to cite anything whatsoever as a reason for not hiring an individual.”

“Employers should be encouraged to discuss (these) issues when interviewing and suggesting help.”

“Depends on the cause(s) of the obesity… and the job.  It (obesity) MAY be due to minor, unaddressed physiological problems OR to major, unaddressed psychological problems...”

Question 11: There are lots of different ways to explain complex medical conditions and diseases. Please rate the tools/methods listed below in order of your preference with #1 being your most preferred and #5 being your least.

Question 11

These results show that the most preferred method of having complex medical conditions/diseases explained is through doctor explanations (38.6%) and/or 3-D animation & illustrations of body parts (32.5%).

Question 12: Please indicate which statement best describes your reaction to listening and/or watching a patient share his or her story about struggling with a particular medical condition or disease.

Question 12

“Sometimes these are touching.”

“In a 15-minute appointment (at best), I prefer to focus on my actual problems, not my potential problems.  We are able to educate ourselves.”

“I call up my family or friends and tell them to tune in to the remainder of the show.”

“Depends on the subject.”

“I compare my personality, circumstances, and support system with theirs. It can bring up lots of questions.”

“Body can heal itself with God.”

“Frankly it’s more likely to make me uncomfortable than motivated.”

“Learning is one of my core values.  I can learn through all of these methods.”

“I take seriously the experiences of others.”

“I’m a little sick, (no pun intended) of all this constant personal “sharing”, and find it an unnecessary invasion of personal privacy in the media.”

“I would rather hear them talk about their dog.”

“If I thought I or someone I knew had similar symptoms I’d probably check it out on the web.”

“It’s usually very boring.”

“Studies show most people are not moved by these types of testaments.  The prevailing feeling is that “it will not happen to me.” I think if we had real consequences in our society for being obese that would be a wake-up call.”

“Since people have bias understandings and experiences with disease, I take stories with a grain of salt and usually look up more information on the web etc.”

“I like to hear from real people.”

Question 13: What types of health topics/diseases should ideastream focus our coverage on next, and why?

“I have seen some coverage of obesity, and believe that should continue - with more practical suggestions and a more representative demographic.  Factoids - -the growing width of seats in Playhouse Square, for instance - can make a big impression.  I hate ‘rah-rah’ stories.”

“Addictions and lack of resources.”

“Obesity and back pain, Obesity and cancer, Obesity and the increase in drugs like Viagra, Statins, etc. Obesity and direct connection with increased healthcare costs.”

“Thyroid… metabolic syndrome… diabetes… cancer… obesity.”

“Linkage of ordinary diet and long-term health.”

“Diabetes; frying with healthy fats vs. hydrogenated fats.”

“Positive stories of easy ways to be active; I work out daily religiously and recently got certified as a group fitness instructor just so I could provide people with the opportunity to get active.  My goal is to ‘Get Northeast Ohio Moving!’ by offering low impact walk classes in my community and 1/2 of the proceeds are donated to our local school.”

“Any and all!  I love that you air so many different types of stories.”

“How to pressure food industry to reduce salt, sugar, AND fat at the same time.”

“Free clinics and how even middle class seeming people can access them.  How to choose a Medicare supplement or advantage plan and drug plan. How difficult it is, how little help there is, how there is now ratings of the plans, how besieged one is by advertising when one get to the age.  What will be lost when one goes on Medicare and leaves a good private plan. How Medicare serves older people poorly by not providing maintenance physical therapy.  Once a person stops making progress physical therapy stops and the patient is allowed to lapse into muscle atrophy.”


“Emotional support.”

“Integrative Medicine because of it simpler approach, where appropriate, cost effectiveness, with fewer, if any, side effects.  End of life issues.  For people more interested in quality of life than length of life, there should be a way out - it would certainly reduce the drain on Medicare.”

“Prenatal nutrition.”

“High fructose corn syrup and processed foods.  Cleveland is on the leading edge of the real food, local food, urban gardening.  Why not see how these can be integrated.  Restaurants separating waste food to create compost for fertilizer for urban gardens.”

“NEXT and ALWAYS until it happens you should daily be talking about America joining the rest of the civilized world in adopting Universal, Expanded Medicare-For-All Citizens, more commonly known as H. R. 676. All other issues will fall in line. Like they say, ‘If you have your health...’ And THEN you can discuss specific diseases, such as cancer, AIDS, diabetes, etc., and their causes and how lifestyle changes and choices will avoid them. Thank you for the survey!”

Question 14: What are the most pressing local challenges or problems for Northeast Ohio? Provide as many examples as you like.

Of the 114 respondents to this question, a little over half (68) mentioned funding, some noting the overall inadequate funding and others focusing on equity of funding.  Samples of these responses include:

“Funding public education. Education without political agenda.”

“Affordable healthy food and exercise with swimming and walking.”

“We need more adequate training (vocational) for the manufacturing jobs that are out there.”

“A better way to fund our schools.  With govt. funding cuts and school levies not passing, our schools are struggling to provide essential programs to our children (i.e. AP classes, athletic and arts programs).”

“The economy is most pressing.  Educational issues are related - we skimp on smart.  The weather sucks big time.”

“I always am concerned with the children going to Cleveland Schools and wish they could reach out and help the kids get an education without all the high school hassle that teenagers are faced with. I’m sure they would have a lower drop out if the system could have some type of alternative resources so that they can succeed in life.”

“The increasing ‘social divide.’ Too many children growing up with no involved parents and the huge problems with poverty.”

“I believe Hospitals have WAY too much power here. Getting rid of the certificate of need allowed hospitals to put facilities wherever they want. In Medina we have 3 ER’s within 2 miles!”

”Jobs and wages; poor public K-12 education; financing higher education; need for business/industry to be innovative and grow.”

“EASE OF ACCESS TO FAST/BAD FOOD. Incorporate costs of eating well & time required to prepare, find, etc.”

“Cut backs in health insurance coverage, and increasing costs to see any type of doctor, particularly Cleveland Clinic doctors/services.”

“Most areas are financially depressed.”

“Too many fast food restaurants and full service restaurants. More bike trails through cities desired, not just Metroparks.”


“Potholes in the roads!!!!!”

“Bad weather limits outdoor activity; few safe bike lanes (although more are added every year).”

“Big picture economics; population loss.”

“Making everyone in the community aware of the difference between eating healthy vs. eating a diet of fast food and refined/processed food that has become so common with American families.  Our cost of healthcare would be reduced dramatically!  We absolutely CANNOT continue on the current health trajectory of our country.  We CANNOT survive as a nation with the majority of our citizens obese with many suffering the effects of diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc. that results from this terrible nutrition.  We CANNOT function as a society if most of the people are having by-pass surgery every few years, or cancer surgery, or having limbs amputated as a result of diabetes.  Our collective health care cost ORDERS OF MAGNITUDE MORE than it needs to.  If two-thirds of the population is so overweight and chronically ill that they can’t be productive members of society, is everyone else going to be caregivers?”

“Donation of organs and procurement by donate life Ohio. Because of the demographics the donation rate for organs among African Americans is dismal. I am on a transplant list for Cleveland and can wait 5-7 year or never for a deceased donor. I am more likely to die than ever receive an organ in Cleveland.”

“Lack of strong representation in Washington, Lack of skilled workforce to help manufacturing grow, Education focused on the wrong outcomes, Inequitable system for funding schools, Education and health care prices that are driven by market forces and are no longer reasonable for fields that should not be for profit. Fractionalized community services as opposed to regional.”

Question 15: What are the best things about living in Northeast Ohio? Provide as many examples as you like.

“Park system.”

“People here are kinder and friendlier than in other cities that have been home or destinations for me.  CSU gets better.  Theatre is good.  Great museums and attractions.”

“Cultural activities.”

“Metro parks, healthcare providers, Lake Erie, affordable housing.”

“Summers… markets… medical care… restaurants… parks… community.”

“Our diverse cultural population. Our wonderful cultural arts offerings. A downtown that is growing! Lake Erie!”

“Four seasons; can go urban, rural, suburban easily, access to higher education.”

“Safety; beauty; high quality affordable housing; easy access to fine doctors and hospitals; great road system; many institutions of higher learning; job opportunities; many cultural, entertainment, and recreation opportunities; great restaurants; great shopping; and WCPN!”

“Arts and culture, The Metro Parks System, Lake Erie.”

“Local foods, fairs, people, arts, radio, etc.”

“The shores of Lake Erie!”

“University Hospitals, Orchestra, Mus. of Natural History, Metro parks, I wish I could say sports teams, but we’ll see.”

“The diversity of options for involvement from sports to cultural to education it is very rich and this need to be a bigger part of your programing personal in terms of less folksy to more sophisticated deeper less cutie dialogue.”

“There are too many examples to name.  The Cleveland food and beer scene is amazing. Good air quality. The west side market, art museum, family!  Rich, ethnic, heritage.”

“Mix of urban and rural. Many houses of worship.”

“Most of the ‘big city’ advantages without the ‘big city’ price and clutter.”

“Community gardens.  Free concerts at CIM.  Cinematheque.  I used to like buying science materials at the gift shop at CMNH, but that’s lousy since they changed it. Appletree Books.”

“WVIZ, Cleveland Clinic, Oberlin College, access to parks, lakes, cultural institutions, West Side Market.”

“Accessible city and resources (geographic and ‘political’ accessibility), wide variety of cultural opportunities. Urban, lake, park, and rural environments within easy distances. People who tend to be straightforward and genuine.”

“Great places to eat and drink.”

“Diverse socio-economic conditions, Cleveland Clinic innovations.”

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