05:05pm Tuesday 19 September 2017

Women's health worse in rural areas

Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH) Co-Director, Professor Julie Byles, from the University of Newcastle said country women had a much lower use of health and medical services.

They also experienced greater difficulty accessing health services than women in major cities.

The latest report from the study, Rural, remote and regional differences in women’s health: Findings from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, examines differences in women’s health.

It also examines women’s access to and use of health services according to where they live in Australia.

“The findings point to a need for greater access to health services for women living in rural and regional areas, especially specialist services,” Professor Byles said.

“The study found that specialist hospital procedures such as hip surgery or caesarean sections were less common as remoteness increased.”

ALSWH Director, Professor Annette Dobson, from the University of Queensland said the study found obesity became more common the further away women were from major cities, as did diabetes and hypertension, conditions often associated with obesity.

“Other significant findings include women in rural and remote areas turned to alternative medicine more than their city counterparts: and life satisfaction and neighbourhood connectedness were greatest in remote areas.

ALSWH is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing. The Rural, remote and regional differences in women’s health report can be found at www.alswh.org.au

The study is a collaboration between The University of Queensland and the University of Newcastle and has followed more than 40,000 women since 1996, taking a comprehensive view of all aspects of health throughout their lives.

For interviews: Professor Julie Byles: 02 4913 8643, julie.byles@newcastle.edu.au and Professor Annette Dobson: 0417 214 501 or a.dobson@sph.uq.edu.au

University of Newcastle media: Tess Campbell on 02 4921 8714 or tess.campbell@newcastle.edu.au


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