Department of Family and Community Services

Health and wellbeing

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Heath quality of life is becoming a key issue for women as the average lifespan extends. Biology is responsible for some of the differences in women’s and men’s patterns of illness and health, with social and cultural factors also playing a part.

Timely access to quality health services, especially in regional NSW is a critical matter for women who often have responsibility for family health care. However, lifestyle, behaviour and social environment are also critical to keeping people healthy and out of hospital.

Participation in the paid workforce and physical and emotional safety have been shown in research to directly link to psychological and physical health.

In this chapter we focus on areas where the health impact is disproportionately experienced by women, or where service use is different for women and men. It includes some sex-specific indicators related to reproductive health, and features antenatal and maternal health as a Focus Topic.

We report on well-being (broad indicators of self-rated health and community connection); illness and injury rates, in particular where women and men have different outcomes; health-related behaviours which increasingly determine health outcomes; and service access and use.

Because health outcomes are influenced by the cumulative effect of social determinants over time, age is a salient factor in presenting many of the indicators. The experiences of population sub-groups including Aboriginal and socio-economic groups are also shown.

As in 2012, this chapter makes use of data from the NSW Health Adult Population Health Survey and NSW Health patient data. In addition, the findings from the ABS Australian Health Survey 2011-12 are used where available to provide complementary data or add a different perspective to the topics under discussion.