Major health issues are falling by the wayside for Australian women, while the body-image battle rages on, says health organisation Jean Halies for Women’s Health.
A comprehensive national survey of more than 3300 women and health professionals has found that an overwhelming number of women are more concerned about their weight and ageing than any other health issue.
One in five women expressed worry about putting on weight and growing old, while one in 10 were anxious about cancer and mental health. Despite the fact that cardiovascular disease is the cause of 50 per cent of female deaths in Australia, only one in 20 were concerned about heart disease.
The research was conducted for Women’s Health Week next week to raise awareness about particular health concerns, about which women might not be attentive.
“We are aiming to identify the gaps in women’s health knowledge and assist professionals help women to be as healthy as they can possibly be,” said Dr Mandy Deeks, head of communication at Jean Hailes.
The organisation is paying special attention to alerting women to the symptoms of heart disease.
“If you are watching what you weigh and being physically active, this is going to help with blood pressure and cholesterol,” Dr Deeks said. “But you need to be aware of the warning signs.”
The survey revealed that the women felt knowledgeable about some health issues, including menstruation, contraception, sexual health, depression and anxiety. However, there were significant gaps in women’s knowledge of many health problems, including symptoms of heart attacks and heart disease, managing blood pressure and painful sex.
You can find out more about this health survey and read the research report at jeanhailes.org.au.