Spotlight on stress

Women are healthier than men but are more stressed, a new pharmacy report finds – and it identifies a surprising group of heavier smokers

Priceline has released its Australia’s Health Report: when healthcare meets self-care, which was developed by analysing 755,778 health checks that took place on the group’s 273 Health Stations around the country.

Information from the stations, which are in both Priceline and Priceline Pharmacy stores, was gathered between November 2018 and October 2020, which the group says makes it one of the largest de-identified health datasets ever collected in Australia.

The report found that women are generally physically healthier than men when it comes to markers such as weight, blood pressure, diabetes and smoking, while the younger generations are “stressed and smoking”.

Women have a healthier BMI (47.9% reported a high BMI rate compared to 65.4% of men), smoke less (13.8% compared to 18.1%), have healthier blood pressure levels (10.8% and 14.8%) and a lower risk of diabetes (4% to 5.8%), indicating that men around the country need to take better care of their health.

But stress was identified as the key issue for women, with 8.8% of women experiencing high stress levels compared to 5.1% of men.

Tasmania had the country’s highest stress levels at 10.1%, followed by Queensland at 8%. New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory are the least likely to report high stress levels (6.8%).

Gen Z are five times more likely to report high stress levels than Baby Boomers – 14.3% compared to 2.9%.

Millennial men turned out to be the country’s most prevalent smokers, with one in five (21.9%) reporting on their smoking habits compared to Gen X (16.4%) and Baby Boomer men (11.9%). 

And as well as reporting the highest stress levels, Tasmanians also had the highest BMI (63.9%), hypertension (16.3%) and smoking prevalence (24.3%).

NSW reported some of the lowest levels of smoking (15%), stress (6.8%) and obesity (54.6%).

 “Stress triggers are different for everyone, across all generations, so it’s important to recognise what your personal triggers are and how you can keep these under control,” said Priceline Pharmacist Justin Withers.

“Habits such as smoking often arise from the mismanagement of stress, so it is essential to consider things holistically and see a health professional or come in for a health station check as a great first step.”

Andrew Vidler, General Manager of Priceline Pharmacy, says the report gives the industry a deeper insight on the health of everyday Australians on a scale that has not been available before.

“We’ve referred more than 130,000 Australians to speak further with a health professional because of a concern that was picked up during the digital Priceline Pharmacy Health Station check,” he said.

“We also have customers continually come back to check in on their health using the Health Stations, helping us build strong relationships to assist them on their health journey.”

Priceline said that the report aims to uncover the health of Australia and encourage better conversations between patient, pharmacist and GP as an integrated healthcare team.

Priceline is also launching its Priceline Pharmacy Care-e-Van, a mobile health check on wheels that will tour the country offering free health checks.

After completing a mobile health check, users will be encouraged to visit their local store and continue monitoring their health through the instore Health Check stations.

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