Women and Health - Avon Global Women's Survey 2000
The 2000 Avon Global Women’s Survey showed that the top health concerns of women worldwide are “women’s cancers” – especially breast cancer, as well as cervical and ovarian cancers – yet most women (74%) are not taking the appropriate steps for early detection. The survey also reveals that easier access to quality health care is a leading issue for improving women’s lives around the world, ranking second globally after financial independence.

When asked what they do regularly to maintain good health, the majority of women surveyed cite simple steps such as drinking “plenty of water” (59%) and getting eight hours of sleep a night (56%). An annual medical exam/check-up is followed only by 36% and mammograms/breast self-exams by a mere 26%*. Only in North America do women pursue an annual medical exam/check-up as a core element of their health maintenance, with two-thirds following this recommended practice.

“The Avon Survey reveals a disconnect between women’s health concerns and the steps they take to maintain good health,” said Andrea Jung, chief executive officer of Avon Products, Inc. “It is not unexpected to find that breast cancer is one of the main concerns of women around the world. What is surprising and disheartening is that most women do not follow potentially life-saving early detection guidelines. Whether this is due to lack of awareness or lack of available medical services, it is clear that support for breast health programs is vital to women everywhere.”

Avon Products, Inc. polls women worldwide every two years to gather information on their interests, issues and challenges. The 2000 Avon Global Women’s Survey polled 30,000 women in 33 countries via telephone and survey mailings. Findings from the “Women & Health” section of the Avon Survey, particularly the concern for women’s cancers and the need for accessible quality health care, underscore the need for increased education, outreach and services for women’s health. One program addressing these needs is the Avon Worldwide Fund for Women’s Health, which has a mission to break the barriers – social, cultural, financial and medical – to women’s health. Since 1992 the Avon Fund has raised more than $140 million to support programs for breast cancer and other women's health issues in 30 countries, and Ms. Jung has pledged to reach $200 million by the end of 2002.

Significant health and fitness results from the Avon survey include:

  • Four out of six regions polled place women’s cancer, especially breast, but also ovarian and cervical cancers, first on their list of leading health concerns, followed globally by being overweight, heart disease/stroke, depression and HIV/AIDS. Of the two exceptions, strikingly 51% of North American women and 54% of South African women cite being overweight as the greatest concern, above diseases such as women’s cancers and heart disease/stroke.
     
  • Women overall cite easier access to quality health care (36%) second only to financial independence (43%) as the critical changes that would most improve their lives. In sharp contrast, North American women cite more leisure time (45%) as most important.
     
  • The majority of women worldwide (54%) say that they enjoy sports and fitness activities, but do not have time to participate in them regularly. Less than one-fifth of women surveyed cite sports and fitness activities as a major part of their lives, and even in North America the number is only slightly better at 25%.
     
  • Women worldwide cite health (29%) as the most common topic for which they would seek advice from friends, underscoring the importance of grassroots education and awareness programs for health issues. However, North American women differ, placing the topic of health (19%) behind shopping (33%) and work (31%) for friends’ advice.

Several Avon programs are already in place to help combat the disparity between women’s health needs, and awareness of and access to health-related services. The U.S. program under the Avon Worldwide Fund for Women’s Health – the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade – has raised $80 million for breast cancer medical research; financial assistance and support services for patients; educational seminars; and awareness and early detection programs nationwide. In addition, the Avon Running Global Women’s Circuit, a series of 10K runs, 5K walks and training clinics for women in twelve countries, empowers women of every age to take charge of their health. Events in cities such as Budapest, Kansas City, Manila and Milan have attracted as many as 14,000 women.

In response to the findings of the Avon Survey, as well as recent reports on women’s diseases from the World Health Organization, the Avon Worldwide Fund for Women’s Health is investigating programs to address additional women’s health issues in the future. The health issues will be selected based upon local needs and priorities. The pledge to reach $200 million by the end of 2002 will provide the resources needed for the Avon Fund to increase current programs and expand into new areas of concern for women’s health.

In response to the findings of the Avon Survey, as well as recent reports on women’s diseases from the World Health Organization, the Avon Worldwide Fund for Women’s Health is investigating programs to address additional women’s health issues in the future. The health issues will be selected based upon local needs and priorities. The pledge to reach $200 million by the end of 2002 will provide the resources needed for the Avon Fund to increase current programs and expand into new areas of concern for women’s health.

 

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