Women in NSW living longer and healthier lives

5 Dec 2017

The latest snap shot of the health of women in NSW will be released today in the Women in NSW Report Series 2017: Health and Wellbeing.

Minister for Women Tanya Davies said while the health of women across the state is improving, the NSW Government and the community need to continue to work together to improve health education and access to services.

“Overall women in NSW are participating in physical activity more than ever, and the number of female smokers has now halved since 2002,” Mrs Davies said.

“However there are still factors such as where women live, Aboriginality and socioeconomic status that impact the overall health of women in NSW.”

The Health and Wellbeing Report revealed the current leading cause of death for women in NSW aged between 25-44 years of age is injury and poisoning, while for women 45-74 years of age it is cancer.

The report has been released by the NSW Government and examines health factors for women both over time and compared with men.

“Last year almost 20 per cent of women aged 16 years or older engaged in risky drinking behaviours, which is classified as two or more standard drinks a day, this is compared to over 40 per cent for men,” Mrs Davies said.

The full report will be launched at a forum in Sydney this morning, where a panel of experts will discuss health and wellbeing issues for women in NSW. Panelists include:

  • Professor Julie Byles, Director, Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health
  • Pauline DeWeerd, Director, Aboriginal Health, St Vincent’s Health Network
  • Scientia Professor Helen Christensen, Director and Chief Scientist, Black Dog Institute
  • Dr Jo Mitchell, Executive Director, Centre for Population Health, NSW Ministry of Health.

The entire Women in NSW Report Series 2017: Health and Wellbeing will be available online at www.women.nsw.gov.au from 12.30pm today.

Other findings of the report include:

  • A significant decline in deaths from coronary heart disease
  • Aboriginal women and culturally and linguistically diverse women are less likely to access breast cancer screening services
  • One in four women in NSW die as a result of cancer
  • Fewer teenagers are giving birth, falling from 3,099 in 2011 to 2,377 in 2015.
  • In the two years to December 2016, 55.9% of women aged 20 to 69 years received a pap test (cervical cancer screening)
  • Young women aged 16 to 24 years who were current smokers declined from 28.1% in 2002 to 14.1% in 2016
  • A total fertility rate of 1.8 children per woman in NSW, slightly lower in metro areas and slightly higher in remote areas
  • 13.6% of all women reported experiencing high or very high levels of psychological distress, with the figure increasing to 21.6% for women aged 16 to 24 years.