Posted 17 May 2017
By Zachary Brennan
A study published Tuesday in PLOS reveals that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) might have more work to do to ensure Americans trust them.
In a study of more than 5,000 adults and 1,100 adolescents, the researchers from the University of North Carolina found that among adults, awareness of CDC and FDA was high (83.6% and 94.3%, respectively) but adults’ trust in the agencies was lower, with 64.6% reported trusting CDC and 62.5% reported trusting FDA.
But the report also noted that adults reported higher trust in CDC and FDA than the federal government (42.9% reported trusting the federal government).
Adolescents, meanwhile, reported high levels of trust, with 72.2% reported trusting CDC and 78.8% reported trusting FDA, but only 55.8% were aware of CDC and 81.9% said they were aware of FDA.
While noting that this is one of the first studies to gauge trust in the two agencies, the researchers added: "For adults’ trust in the CDC, individuals identifying as Black non-Hispanic showed lower odds of trusting the CDC compared to individuals identifying as White non-Hispanic. Additionally, adults with a high school degree or less and current smokers had lower odds of trusting the CDC, while young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 showed greater odds of trusting the CDC, compared to adults over the age of 25. Lastly, for adults’ trust in the FDA only, adults whose income fell below the poverty line had higher odds of trusting agency than adults whose income fell above the poverty line."
The researchers concluded that trusting the source of messages about important public health issues "is critical for dissemination of effective health messages. As new research on FDA credibility is forthcoming, further investigation of how credibility and trust of federal agencies influence health behaviors and outcomes is needed."