Primary care and illness prevention are victims of the recession. The recession is causing Americans to delay visits to primary care providers including physicians, dentists and eye doctors.

The American Optometric Association’s fourth annual American Eye-Q survey focuses primarily on eye health, but dives into a range of preventive health issues as well.

The key finding for Health Populi readers is that preventive health is getting short shrift due to the recession.

Americans worry most about losing their vision (43%), losing their memory (32%) and their ability to walk (12%).

Women (38%) tend to limit visits to practitioners more than men do (32%). The AOA also found differences in limiting visits based on ethnicity, gender, and geography. Specifically, 49% of Hispanic people are limiting visits to health providers compared with 36% of African-Americans and 32% of Caucasians. Geographically, rural health citizens tend to limit visits more than urban Americans.

The survey interviewed 1,000 Americans 18 years and older in a representative sample of the U.S. general population. The study has a margin of error at 95 percent confidence level.

Health Populi’s Hot Points: A survey that complements this AOA poll hit my inbox overnight, sponsored by the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. The 2009 National Consumer Survey on Personal Finance found that Americans highly value health insurance coverage (55%) nearly as much as they do “generating current income” — that is, their job (55%). After health insurance, reducing debt (53%) and building (or re-building) retirement funds (51%) are Americans’ third and fourth most important personal fiscal priorities.

The AOA and the CFPBS surveys together reinforce the decline and continued fall of the state of American citizens’ health insecurity.