2010 Australian Government’s National Women’s Health Policy

The National Women’s Health Policy (2010) was developed as a guide for the next 20 years to improving the health and wellbeing of all women in Australia, especially those at greatest risk of poor health.

Research from ALSWH is cited extensively in the policy, with evidence from ALSWH contributing to recommendations for women of all ages concerning:

  • Sexual and reproductive health (outcomes and risks)
  • Mental health, and access to mental health services
  • Health behaviours (diet, smoking, alcohol consumption, physical activity)
  • Chronic conditions (such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis)
  • Risk factors for depression and anxiety; health outcomes associated with depression and anxiety
  • Adherence to healthy behaviour guidelines
  • The impact of interpersonal violence and abuse on mental and physical health
  • The impact of comorbid conditions on physical and psychological health and social function

ALSWH contributed to recommendations for young women’s health concerning:

  • Transitional moments in young women’s lives when health promotion can be targeted
  • The impact of social pressure on health issues such as body weight, self-image and risk taking behaviours
  • Young women’s aspirations
  • Weight gain after pregnancy

The Study contributed to recommendations for mid-age women’s health concerning:  

  • Symptoms of menopause

Contributions were made to recommendations for older women’s health concerning:

  • The experience of widowhood and the availability of services to assist with older bereaved women’s health, financial and social needs
  • The ability of older women with chronic conditions to manage on their available income

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Perinatal Mental Health

Data from the study has contributed to a significant body of work on perinatal mental health. This research has been used as an evidence base for clinical practice change and innovative service development with industry partners. This includes the mummatters mental health tool developed by BUPA, the 2017 perinatal mental healthcare guidelines developed by COPE, and Medicare changes aimed at improving women’s mental health during the perinatal period. 


The 2014 Australian Government’s Physical Activity Guidelines

Published research from the ALSWH 1973-78 cohort was cited 7 times in the systematic review of evidence supporting these guidelines. Evidence from the ALSWH contributed to recommendations concerning

  • Prevalence and predictors of weight gain, sedentary behaviours and health
  • New domains of physical activity that need to be considered in activity guidelines

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Choose Health: Be Active. A physical activity guide for older Australians

This guide provides an evidence-based guide for optimal physical activity for older adults. It was prepared in 2008 by Professor Wendy Brown for the Australian Government Department of Veteran’s Affairs and the Department of Health and Ageing (now the Department of Health).  

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The 2013 New South Wales Government’s Health Framework for Women’s Health

Published research from ALSWH contributed to recommendations concerning:

  • How socioeconomic inequalities are associated with health conditions and health behaviours in young women which can subsequently affect their risk of developing further health conditions
  • Accessing health services
  • Managing dementia, osteoarthritis and falls
  • Key strategies included supporting healthy lifestyles, appropriate mental health services, support for women with a disability or those who are caring for a person with a disability

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National Respite for Carers Program 

ALSWH data on mid- and older-aged women caregivers were used to inform the National Respite for Carers Program, which is one of several Government initiatives designed to support and assist relatives and friends caring at home for people who are unable to care for themselves because of disability or frailty.

Projects commissioned by the Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing in 2006 and 2009 were also used to provide information to support policy development for the Employed Carers Innovative Project (ECIP).


National Continence Management Strategy

The Study informed the National Continence Management Strategy with respect to prevalence, incidence and risk factors for urinary incontinence, the effects of ageing on incontinence, and the impacts of incontinence on the lives of older women. Information from the study informed the preparation of information brochures available on

Data from the study also informed the development of “Best practice in the prevention and treatment of constipation in adults under 65 years” 

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Data have also been used in numerous submissions by other agencies, for example:

  • Older Women’s Network: Older Women’s Network NSW notes on a submission to ALRC Grey Areas—Age Barriers to Work in Commonwealth Laws (IP 41) 28 May 2012
  • Mental Health Council of Australia Submission to: The Productivity Commission Inquiry into Aged Care July 2010
  • Submission to House of Representatives Standing Committee on Health and Ageing, Inquiry into Obesity in Australia