Australian women miss guidelines around healthy eating and exercise

September 26, 2012

Women in Australia are exercising less and most are not eating nearly enough vegetables, researchers have found.

Drawing data from one of the biggest studies ever conducted with Australian women – the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's (ALSWH) – researchers from The University of Queensland and the University of Newcastle have compared women's lifestyles with national for behaviours and screening.

The report, to health guidelines: Findings from the ALSWH, was launched today by the Honourable Tanya Plibersek, Minister for Health, at the new HMRI Building in Newcastle.

The study reports that fewer women than ever are meeting guidelines around healthy weight, with almost half of all the women surveyed considered overweight or obese.

Women aged between 34 and 39 years have gained the most weight since the survey was last conducted, with 45 per cent of the group now overweight or obese, up from 40 per cent in 2009.

This group also saw a decline in the percentage of women engaging in the recommended 30 minutes of a day, with only 44 per cent managing to complete half an hour of exercise on most days each week.

University of Queensland Professor Wendy Brown, one of the report's lead authors, said the findings reflected how changes in women's lives impacted their physical activity.

"Most women are also failing to meet , particularly around consuming five servings of vegetables a day," she said.

"Less than one per cent of women aged 35-39, only two per cent of women aged 61-66 years and eight per cent of women aged 86-91 years are eating the recommended amount."

Just as worryingly, researchers found that nutritionally poor, energy dense 'extras' made up an increasingly large part of most women's diets, with most eating more than the recommended four servings per day.

ALSWH Co-Director, University of Newcastle Professor Julie Byles, said the study revealed that messages around quitting smoking were getting through.

"Smoking rates are down, although women living in rural areas or with a lower educational status are still more likely to continue to smoke," Professor Byles said.

Women are also heeding advice regarding alcohol consumption and health screenings including blood pressure and cholesterol checks.

The study also shows that, contrary to current guidelines, most women consume alcohol during pregnancy, indicating a need for pregnant to pay particular attention to a healthy lifestyle.

Explore further: Working women more likely to gain weight

More information: www.alswh.org.au/

Related Stories

Working women more likely to gain weight

July 10, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Middle-aged women who spend long hours working are more at risk of gaining weight, according to a new study.

Women with breast cancer continue to smoke, drink

September 29, 2011
New research shows that Australian women are prepared to make lifestyle changes, such as altering  their diet, following diagnosis with breast cancer, however they are unwilling to give up alcohol and cigarettes - increasing ...

Recommended for you

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

High-dose vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles for children

July 18, 2017
Giving children high doses of vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles, a new study has found.

Scientists develop new supplement that can repair, rejuvenate muscles in older adults

July 18, 2017
Whey protein supplements aren't just for gym buffs according to new research from McMaster university. When taken on a regular basis, a combination of these and other ingredients in a ready-to-drink formula have been found ...

Study: Eating at 'wrong time' affects body weight, circadian rhythms

July 18, 2017
A new high-precision feeding system for lab mice reinforces the idea that the time of day food is eaten is more critical to weight loss than the amount of calories ingested.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.