Press Release

For immediate release

Australia’s biggest health fears don’t reflect reality

  • 27.5% of Australians are obese yet only 7.13% of people confess that as a health fear
  • Only one in eight (13.47%) worried they will face mental health issues
  • finder.com.au survey reveals one in three Australians fear they will get cancer in the next ten years

8 November 2016 Sydney, Australia – Australians have their head in the sand when it comes to certain health issues, says finder.com.au, Australia’s most visited comparison website.1

finder surveyed 2,005 Australians and found that Australians are most fearful of cancer, but are less worried about prevalent and potentially serious health conditions such as mental health, obesity and diabetes.

According to the OECD, Australia is the second-highest consumer of antidepressants in the world, yet only one in eight (13.47%) Australians are worried they will face mental health issues. This is less than the one in five (20%) Australians aged 16-85 who do experience a mental illness in any given year.

The study revealed that one in three Australians fear they will get cancer in the next ten years, representing more than 5 million adults. This is significantly higher than the actual number who will be diagnosed - with about 140,000 new cases of cancer diagnosed each year or about 1.5 million new cases over the coming decade.

Bessie Hassan, Health Insurance Expert at finder.com.au, says that while it’s natural to be concerned about cancer, thankfully early prevention, detection and treatment methods, are all increasing the chances of survival.

Australia’s top 10 biggest health fears (by gender):

FearWomenMenOverall
Cancer32.2%26.0%29.0%
Mental health13.9%13.1%13.5%
Cardiovascular disease (coronary heart conditions)9.3%12.1%10.7%
Diabetes5.9%10.3%8.2%
Musculoskeletal (paralysis, spinal injury, arthritis)7.7%7.0%7.3%
Obesity7.3%7.0%7.1%
Stroke5.7%7.1%6.4%
Degenerative diseases (Huntington's, Parkinson's)5.5%5.9%5.7%
Infertility5.9%2.2% 4.0%
Respiratory diseases (Asthma)3.1%3.1%3.1%

 
 
 
 

Ms Hassan said it was important to speak up about health fears but there was no point worrying about the ‘what-ifs’.

“Don’t live your life waiting for a diagnosis,” she advised. “Take preventative measures early and look into your health insurance policy to make sure you and your family are covered if something unforeseen does come up.”

“While having health insurance won’t reduce your risk of developing a long-term health problem or disease - it will ensure you’re able to afford expensive medical services if you need them,” she said.

She said health insurance can give policyholders greater choice or access to healthcare when the unexpected happens.

Gender breakdown

Women (32.17%) were more likely than men (25.97%) to name cancer as their biggest health fear.

Men (10.27%) were almost twice as likely as women (5.86%) to worry about developing diabetes and three times as likely to worry about contracting a sexually transmitted infection (1.13% of women versus 3.59% of men).

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Disclaimer

The information in this release is accurate as of the date published, but rates, fees and other product features may have changed. Please see updated product information on finder.com.au's review pages for the current correct values.

About finder.com.au:

finder.com.au is one of Australia’s biggest comparison websites and has helped over 4.8 million Australians find better credit cards, home loans, life insurance, shopping deals and more since 2006. finder.com.au compares 250 credit and debit cards from 31 providers, over 300 home loan products, and information from 13 life insurance providers as well as online shopping promo codes, mobile phone plans, travel insurance and more. One Australian every five minutes is using finder.com.au or creditcardfinder.com.au to find better (Source: Google Analytics).

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