By Nita Bhalla
NEW DELHI, (TrustLaw) - More than half of American women say they are in poor health and one in five is struggling to become more healthy, mainly because women have a tendency to focus on taking care of others before themselves, a new study has found.
"A Fragile Nation in Poor Health" - a study conducted by TeleVox, a U.S.-based health communications firm - revealed 53 percent of women said their overall health was in poor shape.
"Between dropping off and picking up children at school and taking them to and from various extracurricular activities, women typically work, volunteer and manage the household," said the study.
"As if that's not enough, many women have taken on the responsibility of caring for aging parents or other family members."
The survey - which polled 1,015 Americans across the country - said obesity, smoking and chronic disease, including depression, are steadily increasing in women.
The results, it said, were particularly alarming as many of the medical conditions that kill U.S. women are preventable.
Heart disease is by far the biggest killer of women in the United States.
Eight million American women are living with the disease and 42 percent of women who have heart attacks die within a year, compared to 24 percent of men, according the Women's Heart Foundation.
"To prevent heart disease, doctors often tell women to quit smoking, maintain a healthy weight, reduce stress levels, become more physically active, and adopt a diet low in saturated fats and high in soluble fibre," said the report.
But it added that women ignore their doctor's advice as they are too busy taking care of others.
The study argued that women needed more support from physicians to improve and maintain their health, with almost two in five women polled saying they would follow advice if they received more encouragement from their doctors.
More than a third said they were more likely to take better care of themselves if they received reminders from doctors via email, voice mail or SMS telling them to, for example, take medication or check blood sugar levels.
"Women want to know someone is helping them stick to their treatment plan," said the study.
"It's these small meaningful touches ... that make a big difference to the millions of women across the nation who need to be constantly reminded to take time for themselves and make their personal health a priority."