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Women Worry More About Weight than Disease


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Women are more concerned about diet/weight (56 percent) and eating right (36 percent) than cancer (23 percent), cardiovascular/heart health (20 percent), and diabetes (18 percent), according to the second in a series of findings from the Meredith Corp./NBC Universal "What do Women Want?" survey, MarketingCharts writes.

While most women like who they are inside and are satisfied with their "identity and development as an individual" (68 percent), only 4 in 10 women say they are satisfied with their physical appearance (40 percent) and/or energy levels (37 percent).

Additional health-related findings from the nationwide survey conducted among more than 3,000 women, below.

Medical Examinations

Many women are skipping important medical examinations, including annual physicals and cancer screenings:

  • Less than two-thirds (59 percent) of all women get an annual physical, while more than two-thirds get an annual blood pressure check-up (67 percent) and visit the dentist at least once a year (66 percent).
  • Only 44 percent of Gen Y women get an annual physical, compared to 69 percent of Baby Boomer women.
  • 62 percent of women regularly give themselves a breast self-examination, while only 14 percent of all women get a skin cancer screening at least once a year.
  • Nearly one-third of Boomer women are not getting their important annual mammograms, cholesterol checks or physicals.

To improve health and well-being, some women have taken the following non-traditional approaches: natural herbs and supplements (26 percent), bought/adopted a pet (25 percent), meditation (11 percent), acupuncture (4 percent), visited a hypnotist (1 percent).

Weight Concerns

  • The vast majority of American women (84 percent) feel they are overweight.
  • Older women are more likely than younger women to report they are overweight and to join weight management programs.
    • More Gen Y women (29 percent) feel they are the ideal weight, compared to Gen X women (9 percent) and Baby Boomer women (7 percent).
    • Gen X women (22 percent) and Baby Boomer women (20 percent) are more likely to get involved in weight management programs to improve their health and well-being than Gen Y women (14 percent).
    • On the other hand, Gen Y women (24 percent) are more likely to do yoga or Pilates to improve their health and well-being than their Gen X (18 percent) and Boomer (8 percent) counterparts.
  • Overall, 13 percent of women feel that they are the ideal weight, while 23 percent feel they are 21-50 pounds overweight and 16 percent report being more than 50 pounds overweight.
  • Among women who feel they are overweight, exercise (76 percent) and improving diet (75 percent) are the top two strategies for weight reduction, while taking medications and/or dietary supplements (17 percent) and undergoing surgery (4 percent) are less popular methods.

(MarketingCharts offers more findings from the study, including women's top 10 health concerns.)

About the data: Applied Research & Consulting conducted an online survey among 3,000 women age 18-64 from October 1 to October 12, 2007. The data was sample-balanced to reflect the US Census Bureau. Some sections were administered to a split sample to accommodate the length of the survey.

Meredith's media brands include Ladies' Home Journal, More, Family Circle, Better Homes and Gardens, Fitness, Siempre Mujer and BHG.com. NBC Universal's brands include The Today Show, MSNBC, Bravo, Oxygen, Access Hollywood, Telemundo, and iVillage.

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