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    Rising Costs Affect Women's Health

    Survey Shows Many Women Put Off Doctor Visits Because of Higher Health Care Costs

    Stress and Weight Gain continued...

    Roughly half of the women who said their health had declined cited stress or weight gain as the reason for the decline (53% and 51%, respectively).

    More than one in three women (38%) cited lack of sleep as a reason for poorer health and 31% said it was because they had stopped exercising.

    "Stress continues to rank as a top women's health care concern," Cahill says. "And women who are under a lot of stress may be less likely to exercise and that will certainly affect their health."

    Of the women who said their health had gotten better over the last five years, 60% cited better food choices as a reason, 58% said they had started to exercise regularly, 56% said they had lost weight, and 30% said they had reduced the stress in their lives.

    Women's Views on Aging

    This year's survey also focused on women's attitudes toward aging, with some surprisingly positive findings.

    Four out of five women said they were emotionally prepared to grow older and a slightly lower number felt they had adequate knowledge of issues related to aging.

    Tina Turner topped the list of celebrities over 50 who were considered most inspiring in terms of overall health. Two out of three women who chose her said it was because she has remained active and physically fit as she has aged and 58% cited her positive attitude toward aging.

    When asked what was most important to them as they got older:

    • 30% of the women cited staying in good health without serious physical problems
    • 21% cited remaining independent
    • 19% cited maintaining good mental health
    • 2% said it was most important to maintain their physical appearance

    Judy Norsigian, executive director of the Boston-based women's health advocacy group Our Bodies Ourselves, says many women develop a healthier perspective on their looks as they age.

    "At a certain point you realize that you can't do everything," she tells WebMD. "You can either spend hours a day getting your body to look a certain way or you can spend that time doing something you enjoy more like being with friends."

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