Press Releases

Americans Who Say They Are in Excellent Health Enjoy More “Special” Birthday Celebrations
Jun 9, 2009
American Cancer Society Reveals Link in New Survey

ATLANTA 2009/06/09 -As the official sponsor of birthdays, the American Cancer Society today announced new survey results that show people who say they are in excellent health enjoy better birthdays. The online survey of 2,002 U.S. adults, which demonstrated a strong link between health and attitudes about birthdays, revealed that people who say they are in excellent health are more likely to consider birthdays special and exciting events. In addition, people who say they are in excellent health are nearly twice as likely to love celebrating birthdays, generally consider them fun and feel more special on their birthday than people who say they are in poor health.

“The American Cancer Society sees birthdays as symbolic of the progress we are making together with our supporters to help people stay well and get well, to find cures and fight back against cancer,” said Elizabeth T.H. Fontham, M.P.H, Dr.P.H., national volunteer president, American Cancer Society. “This survey reinforces the benefits of a healthy lifestyle: eating right, being active, maintaining an appropriate weight, not smoking, and getting timely cancer screenings. Not only are these important ways to stay well, but, according to the findings, will also help make birthday celebrations with family and friends more enjoyable.”

Other key survey findings showed that perceptions of excellent health are directly tied to positive views of birthdays:


  • People who say they are in excellent health are more than twice as likely to think it is important to celebrate their own birthday (46 versus 21 percent).
  • People who say they are in excellent health are more likely to plan something special on their birthday (55 versus 25 percent) and want to celebrate their birthday with as many people as possible (33 versus 15 percent).
  • People who say they are in excellent health are more likely to want a lot of attention on their birthday (36 versus 18 percent), like people to know it’s their birthday (43 versus 27 percent) and prefer to tell people what they’d like for a birthday gift (28 versus 15 percent).

The American Cancer Society invites people to join the movement to create a world with more birthdays by visiting where they can declare the American Cancer Society the official sponsor of their birthday, download a healthy “how to” birthday kit and send e-cards to friends and family. People can also spread the word via Facebook or by visiting the Society’s

About the Survey

The online survey was conducted by Millward Brown among a sample of 2,002 adults age 18 and older between March 25 and April 1, 2009. The survey data is representative of national proportions by age, gender, ethnicity and region. Respondents were asked to self identify their health status as excellent, good, fair or poor. Research was conducted by online panels. The margin of sampling error for the results is +/- 2.2 percentage points. Margin of error is greater when analyzing smaller subgroups within the sample.

About the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation's largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing about $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit

Becky Erwin
National Director, Media Relations
American Cancer Society