Objective: To determine the characteristics of yoga and meditation users and non-users amongst young and mid-aged Australian women.
Design and setting: The research was conducted as part of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women's Health (ALSWH) which was designed to investigate multiple factors affecting the health and well being of women over a 20-year period.
Participants: The younger (28-33 years) (n=8885) and mid-aged (56-61 years) (n=10,324) cohorts of the ALSWH who completed Survey 5 in 2006 and 2007 respectively.
Main outcome measure: Use of yoga.
Results: This study estimates that 35% of Australian women aged 28-33 and 27% of Australian women aged 56-61 use yoga or meditation. Younger women with back pain (OR=1.28; 95% CI: 1.08, 1.52) and allergies (OR=1.25; 95% CI: 1.06, 1.49) were more likely to use yoga or meditation, while younger women with migraines or headaches (OR=0.73; 95% CI: 0.62, 0.87) were less likely to use yoga or meditation. Mid-age women with low iron (OR=1.68; 95% CI: 1.29, 2.19) and bowel problems (OR=1.37; 95% CI: 1.13, 1.65) were more likely to use yoga or meditation, while mid age women with hypertension (OR=0.62; 95% CI: 0.52, 0.76) were less likely to use yoga or meditation.
Conclusion: A large percentage of the female population are using yoga or meditation. Given that women who regularly use yoga or meditation positively associated with measures of mental and physical health, there is a need for further research to examine the experiences and potential benefits of these mind-body practices for women's health.
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