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New survey findings released by global hygiene company SCA reveal that Americans are surprisingly concerned about hygiene issues. In fact, more than one-third of Americans (39 percent) worry about becoming ill due to poor hygiene and a majority (56 percent) have avoided places or activities outright due to concerns about hygiene.
Nearly half of all Americans (48 percent) realize that personal responsibility is the first key to improving hygiene standards, which starts with good hand hygiene such as regular handwashing. While more than 80 percent of Americans think they wash their hands enough, nearly as many (76 percent) think that others do not. Interestingly, American women wash their hands more often than American men. Women claim to wash their hands about 10 times per day compared to seven times per day on average for men.
SCA released these survey findings in recognition of Global Handwashing Day on October 15, a day dedicated to increasing awareness of the importance of handwashing as a simple and effective way to prevent diseases. The findings are part of a global survey SCA conducted in conjunction with its 2016-17 Hygiene Matters Report last month. Through the global survey and report, SCA seeks to raise awareness of the connection between hygiene, health and wellbeing around the world.
"In developed countries like the US, concerns about hygiene are often overlooked or underestimated because of the many resources and public services at our disposal, but hygiene challenges persist," said Amy Bellcourt, vice president of communications for SCA. "At SCA, we're committed to raising awareness around proper hygiene standards and practices worldwide, and we know that increased education and communication around hygiene issues, such as the importance of proper handwashing, not only encourages people to live healthier lives but reduces the spread of disease and illness."
Surprisingly, a number of Americans struggle with basic hygiene due to lack of resources and understanding. For example:
•26 percent say they don't have enough knowledge to care for their personal hygiene to stay healthy.
•24 percent say they can't take care of personal hygiene due to how and where they live.
•31 percent say they feel embarrassed or uncomfortable in social situations because of their personal hygiene.
•46 percent believe US politicians and decision makers need to place a higher priority on national hygiene issues.
SCA has a long tradition of working in the communities in which it operates to raise awareness for hygiene issues and educate people of all ages on proper hand hygiene practices to prevent the spread of infection. In Philadelphia, SCA's North American headquarters, the company is working with area schools such as Our Mother of Consolation School in Chestnut Hill, to expand its education efforts on hand hygiene, using interactive demonstrations and apps and games.
The 2016 Global Hygiene Matters survey was conducted between May 31 and June 13, 2016 through web panels in 12 different countries, collecting answers from a total of 12,000 male and female respondents, ages 16 and up. National quotas have been used to obtain accurate representation of age and gender. Questions in the 2016 survey centered on hygiene taboos and stereotypes, hygiene at home, public hygiene, personal hygiene and menstruation, and active life. The survey has been planned, monitored and analyzed by United Minds and the data has been collected through digital questionnaires with the assistance of survey provider CINT.