Minority Women More Likely to Link Good Health to Happiness, Spirituality and Family

National Women's Health Resource Center's New Annual WOMEN TALK Survey Reveals Differences in Health Attitudes Across Ethnic Populations

Red Bank, NJ - African-American and Hispanic women define good health differently than Caucasian women and are more aware of the impact they can have on their health and the health of their families according to the not-for-profit National Women's Health Resource Center's third annual Women Talk survey. The survey, released today and conducted by Harris Interactive, is the third in a series of research by the NWHRC that explores women's attitudes and perceptions toward their health.


When asked what being healthy means to them, African-Americans and Hispanic women cite "being happy" as a key indicator of good health (43% each) verses thirty-three percent of Caucasian women. Additionally, spiritual well-being is of particular relevance to African-American women (44% verses 26% of Hispanics and 25% of Caucasians).

Overall, when asked to rate their physical and mental health on a 1-10 scale, where 10 means "excellent" and 1 means "very poor," African-American women rate their physical health a 7.3 and mental health a 8.9, the highest mental health rating across ethnicities. On average, Hispanic women rate their physical health a 7.2 and an 8.3 for their mental health. This was similar to Caucasian women at a 7.3 for physical health and 8.4 for mental health.

The majority of women in the survey recognize that taking care of themselves is not just good for themselves, but beneficial to their families. However, African-American and Hispanic women are more likely than Caucasian women to recognize the impact they can have on their health and the health of their families. Nearly six in ten African-American women (57%) and the majority of Hispanic women (54%) strongly agree with the statement "Living a healthy lifestyle is important for both my own health as well as the health of my family." as opposed to only thirty-nine percent of Caucasian women.

African-American women particularly believe that focusing on one's self is highly beneficial towards healthy living, with nearly half (46%) strongly agreeing that "Making time for myself is one of the best ways I can help to take care of me and my family," as compared to only thirty-eight percent of Hispanic women and twenty-nine percent of Caucasian women. In fact, four in ten (41%) African-American women strongly agree that "Taking care of myself is my top priority," strikingly different from the twenty-eight percent of Hispanic and seventeen percent of Caucasian women who feel this way.

The Women Talk survey also reveals that the overwhelming majority of women agree (96%) that making small changes in their daily routines can be beneficial to their health, with forty-seven percent of African-American women strongly agreeing with this statement. However, half of women (50%) also indicate they need a better understanding of the small steps they can take to improve their health.

To help women better understand how they can incorporate daily changes into their busy lives, the National Women's Health Resource Center today announced the One Small Step to a Healthier You campaign. As part of this program, NWHRC has launched a comprehensive online wellness center that seeks to provide women with the quick and simple ways they can take control of their health in order to see big results and feel better from a mind, body and spirit approach.

"With today's busy schedules, women are the ringmasters in a never-ending family circus," stated Elizabeth Battaglino Cahill, executive vice president of the NWHRC. "We hope that our new campaign can give women the simple lifestyle tips they need to tame their chaotic days in a healthy, holistic and effortless way."

The Wellness Center includes tips and advice in the following areas:

  • Diet & Nutrition

    • Small Step: Don't pass the salt
      Did you know that too much sodium can raise your blood pressure and contribute to developing or worsening hypertension, the leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease?
  • Fitness

    • Small Step: Get moving
      The beauty of physical activity is that little bits add up to big benefits. Try adding activity into each day little by little. Unsure where to start? Keep it simple. For instance, carry your groceries into the house one bag at a time.
  • Emotional Wellbeing

    • Small Step: Laugh away stress
      Laughter is a great stress reliever, but the benefits don't end there. Laughter can also strengthen the immune system, lessen food cravings and help you heal more quickly.
  • Beauty and Anti-Aging

    • Skip the sunscreen...sometimes
      It may sound sacrilegious but skipping sunscreen for brief periods of time can be good for you. How? Sunshine stimulates your skin to synthesize vitamin D, which may help ward off osteoporosis and other diseases, including certain common cancers.
  • Alternative Medicine

    • Small Step: Throw your own tea party
      Instead of drinking your morning caffè latte or other coffee concoction, indulge in an aromatic cup of tea. Tea, particularly green tea, is an excellent source of antioxidants called polyphenol, which may be why one Arizona study found that the more hot tea people drank (particularly tea with lemon) the less likely they were to develop squamous cell skin cancer.
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About the Survey

The Women Talk survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of the National Women's Health Resource Center between April 12 and April 20, 2007 among 1,126 women, aged 18 and older of whom 189 are African American, 166 are Hispanic and 719 are Caucasian. The 1,126 includes an over sample of Hispanic and African American women. Results were weighted as needed for age, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

About NWHRC

The not-for-profit National Women's Health Resource Center (NWHRC) is the leading independent health information source for women. NWHRC develops and distributes up-to-date and objective women's health information based on the latest advances in medical research and practice. NWHRC believes all women should have access to the most trusted and reliable health information. Information empowers women to make the best decisions to maintain and improve their health and the health of their families.

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