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1.  Personal Health Practices 
BMC Women's Health  2004;4(Suppl 1):S4.
Health Issue
There are differences in health practices and self-rated health among different socio-demographic groups of women. The relationship between socio-demographic status and a) a range of health behaviours and b) a combination of multiple risk and multiple health promoting practices were examined. The relationship between self-rated health and health practices was also assessed.
Key Findings
There were geographic differences in health practices with women in British Columbia having the highest odds of engaging in multiple health promoting practices, while women in Quebec had the lowest. Reports of engaging in multiple risk behaviours were most common in Ontario. Women from Ontario had the highest odds of reporting very good/excellent health and women from British Columbia had among the lowest odds.
The data supported a strong social gradient between an increase in income/education and healthy practices, especially those that are health promoting. However, women with higher education were more likely to be overweight and those with higher incomes were more likely to drink alcohol regularly.
Immigrant women were less likely to engage in multiple health risk practices compared to Canadian-born women. However, they were less likely to report very good/ excellent health than non- immigrants. While marriage appeared to have a generally protective effect on women's health practices, single women were more likely to be physically active and have a normal weight.
Data Gaps and Recommendations
More sensitive indicators need to be developed to better understand possible reasons for the socioeconomic gradient. Data collection should focus on both rural and Aboriginal populations.
doi:10.1186/1472-6874-4-S1-S4
PMCID: PMC2096670  PMID: 15345067
2.  Multiple Roles and Women's Mental Health in Canada 
BMC Women's Health  2004;4(Suppl 1):S3.
Health Issue
Research on the relationship between women's social roles and mental health has been equivocal. Although a greater number of roles often protect mental health, certain combinations can lead to strain. Our study explored the moderating affects of different role combinations on women's mental health by examining associations with socioeconomic status and differences in women's distress (depressive symptoms, personal stress (role strain) and chronic stress (role strain plus environmental stressors).
Key Findings
Women with children, whether single or partnered, had a higher risk of personal stress. Distress, stress and chronic stress levels of mothers, regardless of employment, or marital status, are staggeringly high. Single, unemployed mothers were significantly more likely than all other groups to experience financial stress and food insecurity. For partnered mothers, rates of personal stress and chronic stress were significantly lower among unemployed partnered mothers. Married and partnered mothers reported better mental health than their single counterparts. Lone, unemployed mothers were twice as likely to report a high level of distress compared with other groups. Lone mothers, regardless of employment status, were more likely to report high personal and chronic stress.
Data Gaps and Recommendations
National health surveys need to collect more data on the characteristics of women's work environment and their care giving responsibilities. Questions on household composition should include inter-generational households, same sex couples and multifamily arrangements. Data disaggregation by ethno-racial background would be helpful. Data should be collected on perceived quality of domestic and partnership roles and division of labours.
doi:10.1186/1472-6874-4-S1-S3
PMCID: PMC2096667  PMID: 15345066

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