Published Papers - Abstract 53

Brown W, Young A & Byles J. Women’s Health Australia: A health profile of mid-life rural women. , 1997; : 211-220

More than 14,000 women aged 45-50 from every state and territory are participating in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health. This study is designed to track the health of Australian women for 20 years, and to understand lifestyle and health care factors that influence women’s health. The study deliberately over-represents women from rural (N = 7955) and remote areas (N = 954). This early analysis of baseline data provided by the women compares responses for urban, rural and remote area women. The data show that while rural and remote women in this age group have similar levels of self-rated health, they have significantly fewer visits to general practitioners and specialists (p<0.001) and more visits to alternative health care providers. Rural and remote women were also more likely to undergo gynaecological surgery than women living in urban areas (p<0.001). Other results suggest that drinking and overweight are more common among rural and remote women. In the main however, the results reflect the strength and independence of rural and remote women. Further follow-up will allow divergence in health and health care equity to be explored as these women move into their older years.