NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


June 21, 2005

The findings of the first national women's health survey from the National Women's Health Resource Center (NWHRC), strongly suggest that women often put the health of their families before their own. Along with their own physical and emotional well being, women often define "being healthy" as having a healthy family.

Despite being more informed about healthy living, women are rarely able to make the necessary changes to improve their health:

  • Although women report that stress plays a significant role in their lives and reducing stress would most help improve their health, only half of the women surveyed reported lowering their stress in the past year
  • Some 65 percent of women reported exercising more, 59 percent say they went on a diet and only 15 percent reported visiting a mental counselor.
  • Few women indicated they had met their diet or weight loss goals.

"The survey findings indicate a clear need for women and their health care professionals to do a better job of communicating about both physical and emotional wellness and how to achieve it," said Amy Niles, president of the NWHRC.

The study also shows that lower income women reported that they are in poorer health than women of higher socio-economic status:

  • Almost 40 percent of women earning under $20,000 a year rate their physical health poorly, compared to 15 percent of middle-income and only 7 percent of upper-income women.
  • Some 50 percent of lower-income women report that their health has gotten worse in the last five years compared to 31 percent of middle-income and 26 percent of upper-income women.

Source: "Women Talk," National Women's Health Resource Center, May 2005.


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