Women Care about Their Health but Don't Feel Successful at Meeting Their Goals

Marketing to Women: Addressing Women and Women's Sensibilities, August 2001 | Go to article overview

Women Care about Their Health but Don't Feel Successful at Meeting Their Goals


The vast majority of women age 18-64 view themselves as being family oriented, but most also see themselves as self-reliant and resourceful, according to a Harris Interactive study for Health magazine. While 79% of women say "family oriented" describes them very well (rate it 8-10 on a 10-pt. scale), and 72% identify themselves as strongly with the description "someone who takes care of others," only four in 10 see themselves as "someone who lives for others."

Two thirds (66%) see themselves as self-reliant and six in 10(63%) as resourceful. Fewer women feel they are "in control of their life" (44%), ambitious (44%), or energetic (36%). Just over a quarter (27%) describe themselves as career oriented.

Women age 25-34 have the lowest energy levels of all women 18-64; 28% of women age 25-34 agree strongly with a description of themselves as energetic, versus 43% of 18-24-year- olds and 47% of 55-64-year-olds. Women age 55-64 (75%) are more likely than women age 18-24 (57%) to see themselves as self-reliant.

Married women (64%) are more likely than divorced (39%) or single women (42%) to describe themselves as very happy. Women in excellent health are the most likely of all groups to describe themselves as very happy; 75% say so, versus 56% of women overall.

While good health is a priority for all women, most women reach a turning point in their lives, at which they become more conscious of their own health and of how they feel on a daily basis. The average age for this change in awareness is 35.5 years. Factors that trigger such a turning point include health problems they have personally experienced (28%), having a child or being with children (15%), the general aging process (15%), a friend or family member's illness (9%), and having gained weight (7%).

Women view health and wellness as incorporating physical, emotional, and spiritual factors.

Black women rate certain factors more highly than white women, including spirituallty/religion (88% of black women consider it essential or very important, compared to 70% of white women), time for self (80% of black women consider it essential or very important, versus 60% of white women), and physical appearance (69% of black women consider it essential or very important, versus 45% of white women).

Although more than half of women (54%) describe their own health as excellent (19%) or very good (35%), stress, lack of sleep, and lack of energy often or sometimes plague more than eight in 10 women. Hispanic women are more likely than black or white women to report being depressed often (34% of Hispanic women versus 19% of white and 12% of black women), and more than half (51%) of Hispanic women worry often.

Methods for coping with stress and other psychological difficulties include meditation/yoga/other relaxation techniques (19% of those experience problems), exercise (16%), medication (15%), and prayer/religion (9%). More than a quarter (28%) of women who experience such problems don't take action about them, however.

In general, older women are more likely to say they are taking good care of themselves than are younger women. Four in 10 women age 55-64 (41%) believe they are doing as much for their own health as a woman their age should be doing, while less than a quarter of women age 44 and under say so (21% of women age 18-24, 19% of women age 25-34, and 22% of women age 35-44).

Most women find it a challenge to find time or motivation for exercise, even though they acknowledge its benefits both in general and for them personally. Nearly three quarters of women (73%) say they often or sometimes procrastinate exercising because they don't enjoy it or would rather spend their time in another activity.

Walking is the most popular form of exercise among women; 59% walk or hike for pleasure at least 1-2 times per month. Other activities have fewer regular participants; 20% work out at a gym, 14% run or jog, and 13% take a fitness or aerobics class 1-2 times per month. …

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Women Care about Their Health but Don't Feel Successful at Meeting Their Goals
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