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Economy Driving Women to Skimp on Health Care: Poll
Date:12/2/2008

And that can affect whole families, experts point out

TUESDAY, Dec. 2 (HealthDay News) -- A faltering economy is taking a toll not only on women's wallets but on their health as well, a new survey finds.

Women are cutting back on health care due to costs, according to a Harris Interactive poll released Tuesday by the National Women's Health Resource Center, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

That means their health and that of their families (since women usually take charge of household health matters) may be suffering, experts said.

More than 40 percent of the 754 adult women polled said their health had declined in the past year, with most citing stress and weight gain as the cause, said Beth Battaglino Cahill, executive director of the center, which is headquartered in Red Bank, N.J.

Some of the findings weren't surprising, she added. "More and more women are feeling the impact of stress," she said. "We know stress affects women's overall health. It can lead to weight gain and lead them to eat too much."

The poll, conducted by Harris Interactive online in late September and early October, is the fourth annual National Women T.A.L.K. survey, which explores issues involving women's health.

Among the other poll findings:

  • Almost half the women failed to seek medical care in the year before the survey, citing health care costs. They reported skimping on doctor visits, recommended medical procedures and medication, both for themselves and for family members.
  • Cultural differences emerged, with 58 percent of Hispanic women reporting they skipped health care, compared to 43 percent of white women and 42 percent of black women.
  • On the brighter side: Women seem to be coming to terms with aging, looking on it as an adventure or opportunity versus a struggle. To age well, many are taking action, such as exercising, eating a healthy d
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