Most women in new survey struggle to prioritize their health

Story at a glance

  • A new Gallup survey found that more than 60 percent of women are not making their health a top priority.

  • Most women cite poor mental health as the biggest barrier to making sure they prioritize their overall health.

  • Money and time are two other big reasons why women are not putting their health first.

A little more than 6 out of 10 women find it hard to make their own health a priority, according to new Gallup survey findings.

Work, caregiving responsibilities and lack of time are some of the most common reasons why women struggle to focus on their own health, according to the roughly 4,000-person survey.

But the most common reason why women don’t prioritize their health is because “it feels too overwhelming,” the survey found.

This is especially true among young women. Among Gen Zers, 83 percent said that “it feels too overwhelming” to prioritize their own health.

A large portion of Millennial women — 73 percent — said the same, as well as 74 percent of Gen X women, according to the survey.

Poor mental and emotional health is preventing women from taking care of health in general, notes senior research consultant at Gallup Sarah Fioni.

Mental health issues are preventing 60 percent of women who struggle to prioritize their health in a broad sense from putting it first.

Poor mental health is even more of a barrier among younger women, with 80 percent of Gen Z women claiming their mental or emotional health gets in the way of taking care of themselves, according to Gallup.

“Women facing barriers to prioritizing their health while they are young could suffer from significant long-term effects,” Fioni wrote in an analysis of the survey findings. “Taking care of one’s health early can be key to ensuring stable health and wellbeing later in life.”

Gen Z women were also the most likely to cite lack of time and lack of money as reasons hindering them from making their health a priority.

Women with children struggle more to prioritize their own health than women without children, the survey also found.

Women with children younger than 18 and living in their household are twice as likely as women without children living at home with them to report caregiving duties as the top barrier to taking care of their health.

Almost nine out of 10 women American women with children younger than 18 living at home cite caregiving as the primary reason they don’t prioritize their health.

Meanwhile, about 4 out of 10 women without children under 18 living at home with them cite “caring for others” as the top reason they do not put their health first, according to the survey.

Women who have kids under 18 living with them are also more likely than women who don’t to report not have enough time and money to prioritize their health.

Nearly 70 percent of women with children under 18 living with them said lack of time was a major reason they could not prioritize their health and 55 percent of these women cited money as another reason.

Just under 50 percent of women without kids under 18 living at home said not having enough time was a top reason they could not prioritize their health, meanwhile, and 44 percent said money got in the way of making their health a priority.

When it comes to the aspects of their health they do prioritize, women are more likely to point to their mental and emotional health, the survey found.

More than half of American women consider their mental and emotional health a top concern, while 47 percent said the same of sleep and 40 percent did so of their diet and or nutrition.

Another 35 percent of women said that a chronic condition is a top concern for them.

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