Women's health - Statistics & Facts

In the United States, women generally live long and healthy lives when compared to other less developed countries, but they still face many health issues involving cancer, disease, mental health, and fertility. In 2015, heart disease and cancer were the leading causes of death among women in the U.S., accounting for a combined 43.4 percent of all female deaths.

The most common type of cancer among women in the U.S. is breast cancer, of which there will be an estimated 266,120 new cases in 2018. Although rates of breast cancer have increased, deaths have been steadily decreasing since 1950. Similarly, although heart diseases are the leading cause of death among women, rates of death from such diseases have decreased over the past 60 years, reaching a low of 133.6 deaths per 100,000 population in 2015.

The death rate from suicide among U.S. women has increased slightly in recent years, highlighting the importance of mental health management and treatment. In 2016, it was estimated that 21.7 percent of all adult women in the United States suffered from some form of mental illness in the past year. During this time, instances of major depressive episodes, as well as serious thoughts of suicide, were most common among women aged 18 to 21 years. More women are, however, seeking treatment for their mental health problems than in previous years, in part due to an increased availability of such services and a decrease in social stigma surrounding mental illness.

One of the most important times in a woman’s life to be healthy is during pregnancy, as the health of the unborn baby depends on the health of the mother. Between 2013 and 2015, half of women aged 15 to 44 years expected to have a child in the future. In 2016, around 32 percent of these births were by cesarean delivery. However, despite the importance of being healthy during pregnancy, around a quarter of women who gave birth in 2015 were obese prior to becoming pregnant. This problem will most likely increase in the future as overweight and obesity rates in the U.S. continue to rise among men and women alike.

Cancer screenings and other prevention measures are important tools to minimize the risk of disease and are especially important for women in early prevention, detection, and treatment of breast cancer and cervical cancer. In 2015, around 83 percent of white women and 85 percent of black women had received a cervical cancer screening within the recommended time frames. In that same year, 79 percent of women who were college graduates had received a breast cancer screening in the past two years, compared to just 60 percent of women with less than a high school education.

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Women's health in the U.S. - Important statistics

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