Saturday, December 20, 2008

Financial Woes Can Add To Health Concerns

GBB Note: Part of women's beauty comes from taking care of themselves.

(NAPSI)-Financial problems may have an effect on the health of women and their families.

That's one of the key findings of a new survey that indicates many women have failed to seek health care for themselves or their families to save money. Findings also indicate that many women say their health has gotten worse over the past five years and that the primary cause women cite for this decline is stress.

"Today's financial crisis and increasing health costs are clearly impacting women's decisions around health care, and their physical and emotional well-being," said Elizabeth Battaglino Cahill, RN, executive director of National Women's Health Resource Center (NWHRC), which commissioned the survey. "It's hard to stay calm and relaxed given our hectic lives-even in the best of times. But women need to understand that skimping on health care to save them money may cost them more in the long run."

Conducted by Harris Interactive, the fourth annual, national Women T.A.L.K. survey found a significant number of women report making sacrifices in order to reduce their expenditures on health care and that their health is declining.

• Nearly half of women have failed to seek medical care in the past year because the cost was too high. This includes skipping doctor's visits, recommended medical procedures and medication for themselves or their families.

The study also showed that while women were most likely to put off doctor visits for themselves, they were least likely to put off doctor visits for their children.

• Hispanic women were most likely to have skipped health care in the past year.

• More than 40 percent of women report their health has declined over the past five years and the most common reasons given for this were stress and weight gain.

• At the same time, a solid majority of women reported a willingness to make lifestyle changes -such as improving their diet, exercising or eliminating smoking-if it would help lower their health care costs.

"Long-term stress and weight gain can significantly increase women's risk for other health problems," said Battaglino Cahill. "Women need help in managing stress and part of that equation is good nutrition and regular exercise. There are many simple, no-cost steps they can take to manage stress, including eating better, exercising, deep breathing, meditation and organizing and prioritizing activities."

For more tips on managing stress, visit www.healthywomen.org/wellness.

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