Putting health and well-being first
When it comes to health and wellbeing, women need to place more importance on themselves.
We all know how important it is, but how much time do we actually spend focusing on our own health? No one will deny that the healthier you are, the better it is for you, your family, your work and the life you want to lead.
When it comes to your super your health is also a factor. The healthier you are as you age, the more likely you’ll be able to retire when you want to and enjoy a long and active retirement. Your health also affects your ability to obtain life insurance and the premiums you pay.
At HESTA, 80% of our members are women. On top of that, the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) reports that Australia’s health workforce is predominantly female with seven female nurses for each male nurse.
Some worrying stats on the health of Australian women
Unfortunately, many of us spend so much of our lives looking after others that we’re just not looking after ourselves. According to AIHW 59% of women don’t get enough aerobic exercise and 79% are not meeting muscle-strengthening guidelines.
We’re also not eating well enough with 44% of women not meeting the recommended fruit intake and a whopping 89% of us not eating our five serves per day of vegetables. One in nine women still smoke and one in three drink more than the recommended intake of alcohol. On top of that, 60% of women are overweight or obese.
While Australian women do generally have a higher life expectancy than men, they tend to be more likely to live with chronic diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, back problems, osteoporosis, and mental health conditions.
|Diabetes – did you know?
Diabetes is Australia’s fastest-growing chronic disease for both men and women.
Diabetes occurs when there’s too much glucose in the blood. Over time high glucose levels can damage the body’s blood vessels and nerves, leading to long-term health complications such as heart, kidney, and eye disease, and nerve damage in the feet.
You can reduce your risk of diabetes by maintaining a healthy weight and diet, exercising, reducing your alcohol intake, and not smoking.
If you think you may be at risk of developing diabetes, please visit your doctor and ask to be screened. You can also complete this questionnaire to see if you meet the risk criteria.
Find out more about the types of diabetes, the symptoms and how to manage the condition.
It’s time to put yourself first
While it might feel like something of a cliché or an indulgence you don’t really have time for, it’s important for you to periodically take stock of your own health and general wellbeing.
Making time to exercise, get more sleep, and prepare healthier meals can make a huge difference in how you feel and may reduce your risk of chronic illness in the future. Of course, cutting down on alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, and trying to manage your stress helps too.
Help is out there
If the worst happens and your health does affect your ability to work – don’t despair. HESTA members have access to insurance through their super (you receive it automatically when you become eligible). You can check what cover you have by visiting your online account.
Our insurer, AIA, provides health coaching to support you and your health goals. Here are some ways AIA’s rehabilitation programs can help you when making an insurance claim:
- To address the mental health impact caused by ill health and anxiety, the CancerAid Coach Program now provides all new, ongoing and past program participants with in-app and email messages from CancerAid. They provide peer-reviewed and medically reliable information from peak bodies including practical tips and information from Cancer Australia.
- This information can help patients receiving or recovering from treatment to better manage their care and reduce the risk of infection.
- AIA has developed many modules in their Mind Coach program to help members who are feeling overwhelmed by their health needs.
- The Mind Coach program gives you your own personal health coach, who uses Cognitive Behavioural Therapy-based principles to help you with your recovery.
- You can access seven weekly telehealth sessions if you’re struggling with depression and/or anxiety.
- Mentemia is a wellbeing app for everybody, every day. It’s been developed to help manage stress, anxiety, and worries.
- The app provides a range of tools full of practical tips and techniques to help support mental wellbeing – so you can function well and thrive.
- Download Mentemia for free from the App Store and Google Play.
This article was sponsored by HESTA.
Issued by H.E.S.T. Australia Ltd ABN 66 006 818 695 AFSL 235249, the Trustee of Health Employees Superannuation Trust Australia (HESTA) ABN 64 971 749 321.
This information is of a general nature. It does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or specific needs so you should look at your own financial position and requirements before making a decision. You may wish to consult an adviser when doing this. Before making a decision about HESTA products you should read the relevant product disclosure statement (call 1800 813 327 or visit hesta.com.au for a copy), and consider any relevant risks (hesta.com.au/understandingrisk).