12 things to know about Aussie women and their health


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Jean Hailes has released the results of their fourth annual Women’s Health Survey… here’s what they found

This week is Women’s Health Week (3-7 September).

The Jean Hailes Women’s Health Survey is an annual review of the current health behaviours, knowledge and information needs of women living in Australia.

Women currently comprise approximately 51% of the Australian population and constitute a growing proportion of the older population experiencing a greater percentage of chronic disease and disability compared to men.

More than 15,200 women aged 18 years or older and living in Australia were included in the 2018 survey results.

This is a 47% increase on last year’s sample size (10,377 respondents).

Sixty-six percent of survey respondents were mothers. Most mothers had two children (44.7%).

Here are 12 interesting findings from the survey:

1. More than half (50.4%) of women described their overall health as very good or excellent.

2. More than half (50.8%) of women described themselves as overweight or obese. However only 36.6% of younger women (18-35 years) described their weight in these categories. More than a third (35.3%) of women wanted more information on weight management.

3. More than a third (38.6%) of women aged 18-50 said that they did not have time to prepare or eat healthy foods because of family commitments, 37.4% because of their job and 34.1% who were students.

4. The majority of women (70.3%) reported doing at least two hours of moderate physical activity per week.

5. Almost half of women (46.1%) who responded to the survey had been diagnosed with depression or anxiety by a doctor or psychologist. Two thirds of women (66.9%) reported feeling nervous, anxious or on edge nearly every day or on more than seven days in the last four weeks.

6. Almost one in four (23.9%) could not afford to see a health professional when they need one.

7. Nearly a tenth (9.5%) of women reported drinking daily.

8. Most women (90.5%) had not smoked in the past year.

9. Nearly one in five women (17.7%) reported having difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, or having restless and unsatisfying sleep nearly every day in the past four weeks.

10. One in five women (21.5%) reported that there were issues/questions that they avoided discussing with their doctor.

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11. More than half (56.9%) of women first seek information by searching the internet when they had a health concern. This increased to 63.5% for women aged 18-50. However fact sheets and face-to-face education were identified as the preferred way to receive health information by 59.4% and 42% of respondents, respectively.

12. More than one in two women aged 18-50 (53.8%) did not have enough time in their day to attend appointments for health checks. The top five health checks in the past five years across all respondents to the survey were blood pressure screening (76.7%), cervical cancer screening (69%), cholesterol checks (61.8%), breast cancer screening (54.8%), and diabetes (54.4%).

See more from Jean Hailes for Women’s Health here.

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