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Women's Health Survey puts focus on female health outcomes

19 September 2016 - 9:54am

A recent survey from Jean Hailes has revealed the highest priority concerns that women have for their health, as well as the perspectives of their doctors. How is Australia faring in women's welfare?

A one-of-a-kind survey

The Jean Hailes Women's Health Survey, conducted during the most recent Women's Health Week, was designed to discover what the average Australian woman needs in terms of health information, as well as their behaviour and future requirements from health services. 

According to the Women's Health Week website, it is the only survey of its kind in Australia, making it an important resource for anyone in the health industry, from insurers to doctors to the average consumer. Of particular note is the emphasis on understanding the 'gaps' in health perspectives; the survey questioned both average Australians and health professionals on what women worry the most about, finding there were significant differences in apparent priorities.


Women seem to be concerned primarily about their body weight.Women seem to be concerned primarily about their body weight.

The consumer perspective

According to women themselves, there were five significant areas of concern in terms of their health: Weight management, cancer, mental and emotional health, menopause and chronic pain, in descending order of importance.

It appears that an unhealthy BMI is of particular concern to the modern Australian woman; a finding that is backed up further by the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health. The 2015 report from this long-running project revealed that there has been a marked increased in the total percentage of women categorised as overweight or obese.

Considering the high level of comorbidity that an unhealthy BMI has with myriad other health concerns, it is understandable why Australian women would put this at the forefront of their minds when thinking about their health.

The doctor's view

The health professional view recorded by the Women's Health survey revealed a different perspective.

However, the health professional view recorded by the Women's Health survey revealed a different perspective. While weight remained a primary concern in the eyes of those in the medical industry, it was not the most significant factor: That dubious honour was held by mental and emotional health. For the consumer, this ranked as the third highest concern, with only 15 per cent of women indicating it was a high concern.

Clearly, there is a significant difference in what is considered the highest health priority between doctors and their patients. However, it is also important to note that while there was a difference in hierarchy, nearly every major concern voiced by the consumer was also a major concern for health professionals as well. The only exception to this was chronic pain, which was the fifth highest concern for consumers but was beaten out by fertility according to health professionals.

An influx of funding

The Federal government is providing support for rectifying this issue by increasing the funding to Jean Hailes by 50 per cent.

What does this tell us about the health industry when it comes to women? While the primary issues have been identified, it appears there is still a gap in what ranking these issues have. It is an issue of information.

The Federal government is providing support for rectifying this issue by increasing the funding to Jean Hailes by 50 per cent.

"Jean Hailes has been a ground-breaking organisation since it began - providing women with information and options for their own health and the health of their families, as well as resources for health professionals since 1997," explains Minister for Health Sussan Ley.

Getting the right information

Having the right information about your health is integral to ensuring beneficial outcomes during times of need. The same can be said for your health insurance; is your current cover enough to protect you against the health issues plaguing modern women? You can compare a wide range of insurance products from us here at HICA. Call 1300 44 22 or get in touch with us online to find out more.