Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Chronic Diseases Risk Factors and Access to Health Exams among Women in South Africa

Academic journal article Gender & Behaviour

Chronic Diseases Risk Factors and Access to Health Exams among Women in South Africa

Article excerpt

Using data from the World Health Survey (WHS) carried out in South Africa in 2003, the aim of this study is to establish chronic diseases risk factors and access to preventive exams for cervical and breast cancer among South African women. The sample included in this analysis included 1236 women 18 years and above. Results indicate that the most prevalent risk factors were never having had mammography (83.3%), not having had a pap smear examination in the past 3 years (82.9%), <5 units per day fruit and vegetable intake (69.5%), overweight or obese (62.5%), and 33.4% were physically inactivity (<>150 min/week). Younger age, higher educational levels, being married or cohabiting and access to piped water were significantly associated with preventive exam for cervical cancer and mammography. This study found clustering among risk factors. There is a need to develop health promotion programmes directed at the female population.

Key words: Chronic diseases, risk factors, access, preventive health exams, South African women

Introduction

The burden of disease and injury attributable to various risk factors has been assessed by Norman et al. (2007) in South Africa. The burden attributable to the risk factors in terms of death are rank 2 (9.0%) high blood pressure, rank 3 (8.5%) tobacco smoking, rank 4 (7.1%) alcohol harm, rank 5 (7.0%) high Body Mass Index (BMI) (excess body weight), rank 9 (3.3%) physical inactivity, rank 10 (3.2%) low fruit and vegetable intake (Norman et al., 2007). The South African Demographic Health Survey (SADHS), conducted in 2003 among the general South African population, showed that 55% and 29% of South African women and men respectively, were overweight. In addition, nearly half of the men and women were insufficiently active and 42% of men and 11% of women were smokers (Department of Health, 2007). The number of deaths attributable to non-communicable diseases such as coronary artery disease, diabetes and hypertension are increasing globally (Murray 8c Lopez, 1997) including South Africa, where 37% of all deaths are due to noncommunicable diseases (Bradshaw et al., 2000).

Breast cancer is the second most common cancer among South African females. A total of 3324 breast cancers were recorded in females, comprising 15.6% of all cancers in this group (age standardised incidence rates=ASIR 26.60/100000). The incidence of cervical cancer, especially in South African Black females, is among the highest in the world. In Black females a total of 2783 cases were recorded, comprising 32.7% of all cancers seen in this group (ASIR=39, 28/100000). It is now well established that cancer of the cervix is a sexually transmitted disease. Risk factors for cervical cancer include early age at first intercourse and multiple sexual partners (Sitas 8c Norman, 1995). The South African government has adopted in 1999 a policy of three annual smears per woman at the ages of 30, 40 and 50 years, respectively (Department of Health, 1999).

The proportions of women who smoke, drink alcohol, are obese, engage in an sedentary life style seem to have increased (Leal Mdo, Gama, Frías, 8c Szwarcwald, 2005; Van der WiIk 8c Jansen, 2005).

Using data from the World Health Survey (WHS) carried out in South Africa in 2003, the aim of this study is to establish chronic diseases risk factors and access to preventive exams for cervical and breast cancer among South African women.

Method

Sample and procedure

The country sample (n=2314) was nationally representative and probabilistically selected using a multistage cluster design. All respondents were selected using a Kish table for selection within a household. More detailed information about the World Health Survey is available on its website (www.who.int/healthinfo/survev/en/index.html) (World Health Organization, 2005). To adjust for the population distribution as represented by the UN Statistical Division and for non-response, post-stratification corrections were made to the sampling weights. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.