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The Aging Project
The Aging Project
Episode 18: The wisdom of studying 57,000 women for 30 years with Professor Julie Byles

In this episode of The Aging Project Podcast, we dive deep into the fascinating world of women’s health with renowned researcher and expert, Professor Julie Byles. Julie was the director of the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH),  a national, longitudinal, population-based study of 57,000 women in Australia. Professor Byles provides invaluable insights into the challenges women face at different stages of life, covering topics such as chronic disease, mental health, financial literacy, exercise and nutrition, urinary incontinence, and domestic violence. Join us as we explore the key points from our conversation and gain a deeper understanding of women’s health across the lifespan.

Episode Highlights:

Understanding Chronic Disease Trends

  – Chronic diseases are on the rise, and they significantly impact women’s health at different ages  – The importance of prevention and early intervention to mitigate the burden of chronic diseases – Addressing lifestyle factors such as diet, exercise, and stress management to reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

Women’s Health Challenges at Different Life Stages

   – Women experience unique health challenges at various ages, from reproductive health to menopause and beyond – Exploring the impact of hormonal changes on women’s health and well-being – Highlighting the importance of regular health check-ups and screenings to detect and address health issues early.

Mental Health Trends

– Mental health is a critical aspect of overall well-being, and it can fluctuate across different life stages – Discussing the prevalence of mental health disorders among women and the need for increased awareness and support. – Exploring strategies for promoting mental well-being, such as stress management techniques and fostering social connections.

Financial Literacy and Security

 – Financial disadvantage can have a profound impact on women’s health and overall quality of life.  – Addressing the importance of financial literacy and empowering women to make informed decisions about their financial well-being. – Exploring the challenges faced by women in different generations regarding superannuation, retirement planning, and housing affordability.

Exercise and Nutrition

   – Regular exercise and a balanced diet are key pillars of maintaining optimal health throughout life  – Discussing the benefits of physical activity for women, including improved cardiovascular health, bone strength, and mental well-being. – Highlighting the importance of nutrition and healthy eating habits in preventing chronic diseases and promoting vitality.

Urinary Incontinence

– Urinary incontinence is a common condition that affects women of all ages and can significantly impact their quality of life  – Addressing the stigma surrounding urinary incontinence and promoting open discussions to seek help and support. – Highlighting the importance of pelvic floor exercises and other management strategies for urinary incontinence.

Domestic Violence 

 – Domestic violence remains a pervasive issue affecting the physical and mental health of countless women.”  – Discussing the impact of domestic violence on women’s well-being and the need for increased support and awareness. – Exploring resources and services available to assist women experiencing domestic violence and promoting a community of empathy and support.

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Julie Byles AO is Head of the International Longevity Centre Australia, and co-President of the International Longevity Centre Global Alliance. She has a Bachelor of Medicine (1985) and a Doctor of Philosophy (Medicine) (1994). She is a Fellow (2006) and Presidential Life Member (2013) of the Australian Association of Gerontology (AAG) and a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences (2015). She was awarded Officer of the Order of Australia in 2022.


View the full study

View the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH) website to learn more.

The Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health (ALSWH) is a national, longitudinal, population-based study. ALSWH explores factors that influence health among women who are broadly representative of the entire Australian population. The Study takes a comprehensive view of all aspects of health throughout a woman’s lifespan. It is the largest project of its kind ever conducted in Australia and has an international reputation for its multidisciplinary methodology.


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