Women’s Health Data: Health behaviours and risk factors
Health behaviours and risk factors can improve or worsen health conditions experienced by Australian women. The social and economic environments in which women live impact on women’s ability to improve their health. These environments need to be considered and improved upon and individual women should not be blamed for their inability to improve their health status.
Need data on a different topic? Check out our Women's Health Data archive.
86% of Victorian women do not eat the recommended quantity of fruit and vegetables as recommended by the Australian guidelines for healthy eating1.
In 2011-12, fewer women were overweight or obese than men (55.7 % compared with 69.7%)2.
Women living in inner regional, outer regional and remote areas are more likely to be overweight or obese (63.2%) than women living in major cities (52.5%)2.
62% of Australian women do not meet the recommended physical activity guidelines3.
Women living in the lowest income households were more than twice as likely as those living in the highest income households to do no exercise (53% and 26% respectively)3.
Young Victorian women aged 14 to 24 years more commonly drink at levels deemed to be ‘at risk’ for long term harm than their male peers4
Women were less likely than men to smoke and were more likely to have never taken up smoking, except in the 12 to 17 year age group (3.2% for women compared with 1.8% for men)5
Among Australian women, daily smoking is most common in the 40 to 49 year age group7
Approximately one quarter (24%) of drug-related hospitalisations were attributed to benzodiazepines, with females over represented in hospital admissions (63%) and bed days (62%)6
Women report the first onset of problem gambling as occurring at around 38 years of age, while this occurs for men at around 27 years of age8
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women
In non-remote areas, 44% of Indigenous women consume the recommended daily intake of fruit and 12% consume the recommended daily intake of vegetables9.
Indigenous women are around one-and-a-half times as likely as non-Indigenous women to be overweight or obese9.
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women’s tobacco use is 2.5 times the rate of non-Aboriginal women10
Women from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds
- 47% of Australian women born not in non-English speaking countries participate in sport and physical recreation compared to 67% of women born in Australia11.
Women with disabilities
While gender breakdowns are not reported, in 2007–08, about 69% of adults aged 18–64 years with severe or profound disability were overweight or obese, compared with 58% of those without disability12.
Again, although the data is not sex-disaggregated, Australians with severe or profound disability were more likely than those without disability to do very low level or no exercise (43% and 31%)12.
Same-sex attracted women
- Significantly higher rates of risky alcohol use, marijuana and other illicit drug use have been found in young same-sex attracted women aged 22-27 years compared to heterosexual women of the same age13.
- Department of Health. The Victorian Health Monitor Food and Nutrition Report. Melbourne: Department of Health; 2012 [cited 13 November] Available from: http://www.health.vic.gov.au/healthstatus/survey/vhm.htm . ↩
- Australian Bureau of Statistics, Profiles of Health, Australia, 2011-13. Cat. no. 4338.0. Canberra: ABS; 2013 [cited 13 November 2013] Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4338.0main+features12011-13. ↩
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. Physical Activity in Australia: A Snapshot, 2007-08. Cat. no.4835.0.55.001, 2011 [cited 13 November 2013] Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4835.0.55.001Main+Features12007-08?OpenDocument . ↩
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. Australian Health Survey: First Results, 2011-12. Cat no. 4364.0.55.001. Canberra: ABS; 2012 [cited 14 August 2013] Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4364.0.55.001Explanatory%20Notes602011-12?OpenDocument. ↩
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Australia’s health 2012. Australia’s health series no.13. Cat. no. AUS 156. Canberra: AIHW; 2012 [cited 13 November 2013} Available from: http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=10737422172. ↩
- Department of Human Services. The Victorian drug statistics handbook: Patterns of drug use and related harm in Victoria for the period July 2009 to June 2010 – Report Number 13. Melbourne: Department of Human Services, State Government of Victoria; 2012 [cited 14 August 2013] Available from: http://www.health.vic.gov.au/aod/pubs/drugstats.htm. ↩
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. National Health Survey: summary of results, 2007–08 (Reissue). Cat. no. 4364.0. Canberra: ABS; 2012 [cited 13 November 2013] Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4364.0.55.001main+features12011-12 . ↩
- Centre for Gambling Education and Research, Gambling and Co-Morbid Disorders 2013. Southern Cross University, Gambling Research Australia, 2013 [cited 13 November 2013] Available from: http://www.gamblingresearch.org.au/home/research/gra+research+reports/gambling+and+co-morbid+disorders+2013+pdf. ↩
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. The health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women: A snapshot, 2004-05. Cat. No. 4722.0.55.001. Canberra: ABS; 2007 [cited 4 September 2013] Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4722.0.55.001Main+Features12004-05?OpenDocument . ↩
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. Tobacco Smoking: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people: A Snapshot 2004-05 Cat no. 4722.0.55.004. Canberra: ABS; 2007 [cited 14 August 2013] Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4722.0.55.004Main+Features12004-05?OpenDocument. ↩
- Australian Bureau of Statistics. Participation in Sport and Physical Recreation, Australia, 2011-12. Cat no. 4722.0.55.004. Canberra: ABS; 2007 [cited 14 August 2013] Available from: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Products/4177.0~2011-12~Main+Features~Characteristics+of+persons+who+participated?OpenDocument . ↩
- Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Health of Australians with disability: health status and risk factors. AIHW bulletin no. 83. Cat. no. AUS 132. Canberra: AIHW; 2010. [cited 4 December 2013 ] Available from: http://www.aihw.gov.au/publication-detail/?id=6442472401 . ↩
- Pitts, M., Smith, A., Mitchell, A. & Patel S. Private Lives: A report on the health and wellbeing of GLBTI Australians. Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society; 2006 [cited 3 December 2013] Available from: http://www.glhv.org.au/node/412 . ↩
Published: February 2014
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