Media releases

May 11, 2017


As Mother’s Day approaches, the Medibank Better Health Index has revealed that the health of Australian mums is steadily improving.

Only 67 per cent of mums agreed “there aren’t enough hours in the day”, down from 74 per cent 10 years ago, implying that these days, mums are managing to fit even more into their jam-packed schedule.

This is also reflected in Australian mums’ exercise habits, which shows an uplift in mums exercising over the last 10 years. 52 per cent of mothers have exercised in the last three months (vs 49 per cent in 2007-08). Mums are also more likely to have exercised than the general population (at 50 per cent).

The Index shows mums’ nutrition has steadily improved since 2007-08. Australian mums are less likely than the general population to be overweight or obese (58 per cent compared to 63 per cent). The data showed mums are less likely to rely on fast food, succumb to a daily chocolate fix, and consume alcohol than 10 years ago. Mums are also drinking far less than the general population (3.3 drinks per week compared to 6.25 drinks per week).

While Australian mums’ overall health has improved, the Medibank Better Health Index data did reveal that being a mum can sometimes take its toll.

Mums are more stressed than the general population, with the latest Index showing 32 per cent suffer from stress (vs 25 per cent of the general population). Additionally mums are more likely to suffer from:

  • Colds (62 per cent, compared with the general population at 50 per cent)
  • Back pain (44 per cent, compared with the general population at 41 per cent)
  • Frequent headaches (12 per cent, compared with the general population at 7 per cent)

Medibank’s Chief Medical Officer and mother of two Dr Linda Swan said Mother’s Day was an important opportunity to enjoy some family time.

“Whether you’re celebrating your own mum, being a mum, or honouring someone who’s been a mother-figure in your life, Mother’s Day can be a good chance to reconnect with those we love,” Dr Swan said.

“Mums across Australia should be proud that we are adopting healthier habits as it's well known how important this role model is for our children. However it's also important that we acknowledge that being a Mum can be stressful, and that seeking support when needed is an important aspect of managing health.

“This data underscores the importance of taking time out and catching up with friends and family – it’s good for our mental and physical health.”

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