An annual survey examining the health of thousands of Australian women has found 50% consider themselves overweight or obese, just under half have been diagnosed with depression or anxiety and that one in four cannot afford to see a health professional when they need one.
Released today ahead of Women’s Health Week, which runs from 3-7 September, the 2018 Jean Hailes for Women’s Health Survey marks the fourth national study by the not-for-profit organisation looking into the health needs and behaviours of Australian women.
The survey aims to investigate perceived gaps in women’s health information, identify and understand the future health needs of Australian women, and portray their current health knowledge and behaviours.
More than 15,000 women across Australia aged over 18 responded to this year’s survey, with results painting an important picture of the specific health concerns and needs of women.
Almost half of women surveyed (46.1%) had been diagnosed with depression or anxiety by a doctor or psychologist, while a third of women (34.3%) reported not getting time to themselves on a weekly basis.
Measuring physical health, 50.8% of women described themselves as overweight or obese, 9.5% of women reported drinking daily, and 70.3% said they undertake at least two hours of physical activity per week.
The study also found one out of four (23.9%) women surveyed could not afford to see a health professional when required.
In terms of accessing health information, 56.9% of women seek information first by searching the internet when they have a health concern and listed fact sheets and face-to-face education as their preferred way to receive health information.
Health apps were more popular with younger aged groups, with 38% of women under 51 choosing them as their preferred way to access health information compared to 18.2% of women over 50.
Overall, the top five health topics women want to know about surround weight management (34.9%), healthy eating/nutrition (31.7%), mental health and emotional health (29.3%), anxiety (28.3%) and menopause (24.9%).
The survey forms part of Jean Hailes’ national Women’s Health Week campaign that encourages women to put themselves first for a week and reflect on their health and wellbeing.