The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health Expands to Their Children

If you’re not familiar with the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, it was an immensely large study, which focused on Australian women for two whole decades. Starting in 1996, it was created in order to better understand the need of women and ensure that the country’s health policy was based on true, accurate data.

Following an impressive 58,000 woman across the country, it is most certainly one of the largest studies of its kind conducted on a global scale. The information uncovered has been used by more than 700 researchers across the globe and 660 research projects have relied on this data. From domestic violence to breastfeeding, an immense amount of information has been documented.

Related Data Paints a Clearer Picture of Women’s Health

Those who participated in this study significantly opened up, sharing all aspects of their lives — focusing on relationships, socio-economic, and health factors, as well major life events, such as menopause, birth, and serious illness. Now, this study will expand to include the children of the original young cohort.

Researchers will examine all 16,000 ‘children’, in the hopes that they’ll uncover key pieces of information. They are interested in how the health of their offspring, affects the original mothers — and vice versa. Initially, this study came about because men were determining women’s health policies and there was a need for change.

The founding director stated that none of the original researchers would have thought that this study would have lasted as long as it did — and now it’s expanding even further. The resulting data most certainly had an impact on women’s health, as multiple generations were examined.

Originally, women were recruited from three age groups — women entering their elderly years, a middle aged group, and a young cohort — those who were 18 to 23 years old. Each participant’s data was compared with others throughout the years and across each generation.

This data provided key pieces of information based on a wide range of ailments. Depression among women, for instance, is an important topic and this study offered clues in terms of how long it lasts in women, who’s at the highest risk, and how severe symptoms are. It most certainly painted a clearer picture regarding the health of women across the country and globe.

Research Expands to A New Young Cohort

Within the past few years, a new cohort has been recruited that has caused concern. Although this data helps better understand women’s health as a whole, it’s also important in terms of how general health is changing from one generation to the next. Based on what researchers are now seeing, there are some alarming red flags.

In 1996, one in five individuals aged 18 to 23 reported symptoms of psychological distress. That figure has now increased to a shocking one in two. Positive mental health is critical and although this is concerning, the current physical health of these new participants is very problematic. Although it’s been found that young women now exercise more, they’re 4.5 kilograms heavier on average.

This is obviously something in which researchers want to examine and monitor, as young individuals today are significantly heavier at an earlier age. This will likely have major implications on health and overall well-being. After all, obesity is one of the most visible, yet most neglected areas of public health.

In general, women typically display higher rates of obesity than men, leading to serious health implications. From diabetes to heart disease, stroke to hypertension, it’s clear that the obesity epidemic is causing an increased risk of premature death. Now, only time will tell what this new data means for not just those individuals involved, but those across the world who also struggle with similar issues.

If you are struggling with your weight, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provide some great tips here to get you started. Sometimes, you just need to become more aware in order to make positive changes. The same is true for conditions such as depression, as the CMHA provides plenty of beneficial information and resources.

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