Lifestyle choices and mortality in women

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners Oral Contraception Study recruited 23,000 women in 1968. Its latest report shows how lifestyle choices have affected the women’s lives in middle age.

Just before the participating GPs finished their observations in 1996, the women still in the study were asked to complete a health and lifestyle survey. The 10,073 who completed the survey had an average age of 56 years; their mean age had been 29 years at the start of the study.

Twelve years after the study, 896 of those surveyed had died. Cancer was responsible for 389 deaths and 267 died from cardiovascular disease.

Most of the women had at least one risk factor in their lifestyle. Women who smoked had significantly increased mortality rates, but women who drank were less likely to have died than women who had never consumed alcohol.

Physical inactivity was the most common problem and was associated with significantly increased