When it comes to health and wellbeing, women need to place more importance on themselves.
We all know how important it is, but how much time do we actually spend focusing on our own health? No one will deny that the healthier you are, the better it is for you, your family, your work and the life you want to lead.
When it comes to your super your health is also a factor. The healthier you are as you age, the more likely you’ll be able to retire when you want to and enjoy a long and active retirement. Your health also affects your ability to obtain life insurance and the premiums you pay.
At HESTA, 80% of our members are women. According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) reports that Australia's health workforce is predominantly female with seven female nurses for each male nurse.
Some worrying stats on the health of Australian women
Unfortunately, many of us spend so much of our lives looking after others that we’re just not looking after ourselves. AIHW data shows 59% of women don’t get enough aerobic exercise and 79% are not meeting muscle strengthening guidelines.
We’re also not eating well enough with 44% of women not meeting the recommended fruit intake and a whopping 89% of us not eating our five serves per day of vegetables. One in nine women still smoke and one in three drink more than the recommended intake of alcohol. On top of that, 60% of women are overweight or obese.
While Australian women do generally have a higher life expectancy than men, they tend to be more likely to live with chronic disease such as arthritis, diabetes, back problems, osteoporosis and mental health conditions.
Diabetes – did you know?
Diabetes is Australia’s fastest growing chronic disease for both men and women.
Diabetes occurs when there’s too much glucose in the blood. Over time high glucose levels can damage the body’s blood vessels and nerves, leading to long-term health complications such as heart, kidney and eye disease, and nerve damage in the feet.
You can reduce your risk of diabetes by maintaining a healthy weight and diet, exercising, reducing your alcohol intake and not smoking.
If you think you may be at risk of developing diabetes, please visit your doctor and ask to be screened. You can also complete this questionnaire to see if you meet the risk criteria.
Find out more about the types of diabetes, the symptoms and how to manage the condition.
It’s time to put yourself first
While it might feel like something of a cliché or an indulgence you don’t really have time for, it’s important for you to periodically take stock of your own health and general wellbeing.
Making time to exercise, get more sleep and prepare healthier meals can make a huge difference to how you feel and may reduce your risk of chronic illness in the future. Of course, cutting down on alcohol consumption, quitting smoking and trying to manage your stress helps too.
Help is out there
If the worst happens and your health does affect your ability to work – don’t despair. HESTA members have access to insurance through their super (you receive it automatically when you become eligible). You can check what cover you have by visiting your online account.
Our insurer, AIA, provides health coaching to support you and your health goals. Here are some ways AIA’s rehabilitation programs can help you when making an insurance claim: