Are We As Healthy As We Think?

Not prioritising our health and wellbeing has become a common occurrence for busy Australian women juggling careers and family life, and it has become a serious problem. Many women are putting all other concerns before their own health and Priceline Pharmacy’s 2015 National Women’s Health Report has revealed how damaging that can be to your wellbeing. These statistics are proving why Australia is now one of the unhealthiest and overweight countries in the world.

The report discovered that 51% of women are reporting a BMI of 25 or above – this indicates that they are overweight, obese or extremely obese. Women are often claiming that they struggle to take care of their health and wellbeing due to their busy lives, however serious health problems have risen in Australia due to this trend.

The findings from this report were very surprising and some quite shocking. We usually see young women as some of the healthiest in Australia, however statistics revealed that 72% of women aged between 16 and 24 reported poor nutrition, with another 65% of the same age group reporting insufficient exercise. This is a woman’s peak age and is when they should be at their healthiest, not their worst. It is especially alarming as many women are learning and forming their health habits at this age and are therefore likely to continue this behaviour throughout their lives.

Australian’s have some of the best access to health information, food and exercise and yet findings indicate that this accessibility is not being utilized.  One of the key reasons for these unhealthy results is that 82% reported low fruit and vegetable intake-  without consuming these vital foods, maintaining a healthy diet is impossible.

It is not only young women struggling with their overall health and wellbeing, 62% of women across all age groups reported poor nutrition and insufficient activity. These unhealthy diet and exercise habits are leading to more serious conditions such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and high cholesterol. There is no lack of information in Australia, this year the government increased their spending to approximately $70 billion, ensuring the message of the importance of a healthy diet and exercise was shared.

Priceline Pharmacy Dietitian Melanie McGrice says, “I’m always shocked to see the high numbers of Australian women with poor nutrition, especially given the great food and amount of information readily available! I find that busy lives, not prioritising our own health and a lack of cooking skills can all play a significant role in poor eating habits, especially when it comes to getting enough fruit and veg.”

These results are especially concerning as the report correlated a relationship between poor eating habits and mental health in Australian women. They found that those who reported that they had poor mental and physical health were 4.6 times more likely to skip meals, 1.3 times more likely to report low fruit and vegetable consumption and 11 times more likely consume fried foods on a frequent basis. As well as 33% of women reporting that they have frequent anxiety. With the obvious increase in poor mental health in Australia over the past few years, this link between poor physical health and mental health proves how important it is for women to take care of their physical health in order to maintain their mental health.

Taking care of our personal health and wellbeing needs to be a top priority. Women will then be stronger and healthier and more equipped to take care of others and manage their busy lives.

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Statistics via Priceline Pharmacy 2015 National Women’s Health Report

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