Health Across Generations: Findings From the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • Interpretation of changes in health and health care utilization patterns across the life span depends on an understanding of the effects of age, period, and cohort. The purpose of this article is to illustrate differences among three generations of women in demographic factors, health risk factors, and health status indicators from 1996 to 2008. The article examines data from the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health, a broad-ranging project funded by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA) and involving three age groups of women (born in the periods 1973—1978, 1946—1951, and 1921—1926) who were first surveyed in 1996 and will be surveyed every 3 years until at least 2015. Patterns in selected demographic factors (marital status and level of educational qualification), health risk factors (smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and body mass index [BMI]), and health status indicators (asthma, hypertension, diabetes and depression; physical functioning and mental health scores from the SF-36) were examined to illustrate examples of biological age, generational differences, or period effects that affect all age groups and generations simultaneously. The results can be used to inform the development of responsive and effective models for both prevention and management of chronic disease, including health and aged-care systems that will meet the needs of different generations of women across their life span.

authors

  • Lucke, Jayne C
  • Brown, Wendy
  • Tooth, Leigh
  • Loxton, Deborah
  • Byles, Julie
  • Spallek, Melanie
  • Powers, Jennifer
  • Hockey, Richard
  • Pachana, Nancy A
  • Dobson, Annette

publication date

  • October 2010