What health issues do women worry about most?

A round up of the top 5 concerns as reported by women surveyed across the country

Jean Hailes conducted a survey of Australian women and compiled the results into a report in time for Women’s Health Week (5-9 September).

Of 3035 women who completed the Jean Hailes Women’s Health Survey 2016 from February to early May this year, the top five most reported health concerns were:

  1. Weight management (23%), specifically weight gain
  2. Cancer (17%), such as breast cancer, skin cancer and ovarian cancer
  3. Mental and emotional health, particularly anxiety and depression (15%)
  4. Menopause (9%)
  5. Chronic pain (8%)

Health information needs

According to the survey results, nearly half of all women across Australia reported they wanted more information on healthy eating and nutrition.

Overall, the top eight health topics women wanted more information about were:

  1. Healthy eating and nutrition (48%)
  2. Anxiety and worry (46%)
  3. Weight management (45%)
  4. Memory (36%)
  5. Natural therapies and supplements (34%)
  6. Menopause (33%)
  7. Depression (30%)
  8. Bowel health (29%)

Women in regional and rural areas were more likely to want information on bone health, memory, and how to manage blood pressure and cholesterol.

Meanwhile, those in metropolitan locations were more interested in mental health, menopause, periods, polycystic ovary syndrome and endometriosis.

Healthy living

Interestingly, women aged over 65 reported the highest level of physical activity, while those aged 25-35 years reported the lowest level.

The average amount of moderate physical activity among all women was 1.3 hours per day.

Top barriers to a healthy lifestyle of those surveyed were:

  1. Lack of time (29%)
  2. Health is not a priority (22%)
  3. Lack of motivation (12%)
  4. Lack of money (9%)

Body image

Less than half of women surveyed agreed with the statement, ‘I like my looks just the way they are’.

Of all participants, 77% stated that their own perception was the biggest influence on their body image.

However, in those aged 18-24 years the media (including social media, magazines and television) was a big influence on body image – an influence that decreased with age.

Health checks and screening

Most women reported engaging in general health checks as well as pap screening, breast screening and bowel screening, although not many were engaging in sexual health screening (only 20%).

This is the second annual survey conducted by Jean Hailes for Women’s Health, identifying the “gaps for both women and health professionals”. Read the full report here.

Women’s Health Week runs from 5 to 9 September 2016.

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