Investigation of the self-reported health and health-related behaviours of Victorian mothers of school-aged children

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Abstract

Lifestyle may influence many health-related issues currently facing Australian women. The extent to which women with school-aged children attend to their own health is unknown and the associations between health behaviours and health status requires investigation. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of health behaviours (alcohol consumption, health-promoting activities) and their impact on self-reported health (weight, sleep quality, mental health) among mothers of school-aged children in Victoria. Mail-out survey design (n = 263) including the Depression Anxiety Stress Scale (DASS) and Health Promoting Activities Scale was used to explore issues. The results indicated that substantial numbers of mothers reported moderate to extreme DASS scores: depression (n = 45, 17 ); anxiety (n = 41, 15.6 ); stress (n = 57, 21.7 ). The majority participated in physical activity less often than daily. High rates of daily alcohol use (20 ) and poor sleep quality were reported. Nearly one-half (n = 114, 46 ) of the sample were overweight or obese and also reported poorer mental health than other women in the sample (P <0.001). Significant associations were detected between maternal weight, mental health and participation in health-promoting activities. The findings indicate that there is a need for increased health education and services for women with school-aged children. Direct services and population-based health promotion strategies may be required to address healthy lifestyle issues and educate mothers about the possible health legacy of poor health behaviours.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66 - 73
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Journal of Primary Health
Volume21
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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