12/09/2012 11:32 am ET Updated Dec 10, 2012

Health Care Is Most Urgent Health-Related Concern For Americans Today: Report

Americans believe that health care is the biggest health issue of today, according to a new survey conducted by Gallup researchers.

Following closely behind as the second-most pressing issue is health care affordability, the researchers found. Together, health care issues -- including affordability and access -- were mentioned by 44 percent of Americans who participated in the survey.

That percentage is down from 2008, when 55 percent of people surveyed said that health care accessibility and affordability were the most pressing health concern in the country.

Obesity was the third-most mentioned item of pressing concern, with 16 percent of Americans saying it is the most urgent health problem in the U.S., up from 3 percent who mentioned it in 1987.

"Obesity is a costly and potentially deadly health problem for the United States and one that has been worsening dramatically over the past three decades," Gallup researchers wrote in the report. "Unless the problem is curbed -- either through public policies, greater focus by the medical world, or something else -- it is likely this issue will continue to make its way to the top of Americans' list of the most urgent health problems in the country.

The results are based on phone interviews of 1,015 adults in the U.S. conducted between Nov. 15 and 18 this year. After obesity, other top health issues mentioned were: cancer, government interference, heart disease, diabetes and AIDS. Fifteen percent of people surveyed said they had no opinion.