Health of Mid-Life Women in the States
Cynthia B. Costello, Jennifer E. Griffith, Angela Wilbon, and Ashley Redfearn
Health of Mid-Life Women in the States focuses on the health status
of women between the ages of 45 and 65 when the normal aging process,
together with lifestyle factors, put women at risk for the onset of chronic
health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, as well
as for osteoporosis. This 54-page report presents state-by-state data
from the 1993 Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFFS) on crucial
indicators of health for mid-life women (women were surveyed in 49 states
and the District of Colum-bia). All BRFSS data refer exclusively to women
between the ages of 45 and 65. We were able to analyze data by race and
Hispanic origin for four states-California, Florida, New York, and Texas.
The BRFSS data are supplemented by data on osteoporosis and low bone mass
for women age 50 and over from the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
BRFSS indicators used in this report are:
- lack of
health insurance coverage;
health behaviors (i.e. cigarette smoking, excessive drinking, and being
of high blood pressure; high blood cholesterol, and diabetes; and
related to heart disease and cancer of the breast, cervix, and colon.
- The proportion
of mid-life women who lack health insurance coverage of any kind varies
greatly across the country: in Rhode Island it is less than three percent,
in Texas nearly 20 percent. In a number of states, large percentages
of the uninsured women had lost their coverage within the previous two
years. Black and Hispanic women had higher rates of uninsurance than
did white women.
the states, high numbers of women report high-risk behaviors, with approximately
one in five reporting that they smoke and two in five reporting that
they are overweight. However, fewer than four out of 100 women reported
that they drank excessively.
and Hispanic mid-life women were significantly more likely than white
mid-life women to report high blood pressure, one indicator of cardiovascular
disease. Nationwide, black women were twice as likely as white women
age 45-64 to report diabetes. Hispanic women reported an especially
high rates of diabetes in Texas (21 percent), three times the national
median (6.6 percent) for women of all races.
and Hispanic mid-life women were less likely than their white counterparts
to receive screening for breast, cervical and colon cancers. In Texas,
where 48.3 percent of mid-life women who are white had received mammograms
and clinical breast exams within the previous two years, only 18 percent
of those who are black and 23.1 percent of Hispanic women had.
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