Survey data released Monday, to coincide with Women's Health Month in May, show that a woman's educational level, Household income and health insurance status can be indicators of her health and her awareness about health-related behaviors, according to California's Department of Health Services.

More women in California are getting mammograms today than two years ago and fewer are smoking, according to the report "Women's Health: Findings from the California Women's Health Survey, 1997-2003," which presents the results of surveys of 4,000 women aged 18 or older randomly selected and interviewed by telephone.

Other results are less encouraging. Domestic violence is experienced more frequently by women without health insurance and women without insurance are also more likely to have poor access to mental health services or to have had a mammogram and breast exam in the past year than women with insurance.

Some 63.7 percent of insured women, but only 28.4 percent of women who are without insurance, had mammograms in the past year, according to survey results.

College-educated women with household incomes equal to or higher than the state median income are more likely to drink alcohol, as are women who are employed or in full-time study, according to the survey.

The most likely binge drinkers are young women and the survey participants least likely to have drunk alcohol in the 30 days preceding their interview were foreign-born Hispanic women.

Smokers are more likely among women who have not completed high school or who are unemployed, as well as among women aged 18 to 45 years of age.

The report considers data on nutrition, physical activity, tobacco and alcohol use, body weight, domestic violence, sexual behavior, folic acid awareness, use of STD and family planning support services, mental health, breast cancer screening and post traumatic stress disorder obtained from an annual telephone survey of women aged 18 or older.

This is the first year the group of agencies participating in compiling the health information data have examined results from more than one year at a time, according to the department. An interagency research group, coordinated through the California Department of Health Service's Office of Women's Health takes a look at the survey results each year and produces fact sheets based on the results, the department reported.

More information about the most recent, multi-year report and a calendar in English and Spanish of Women's Health Month events are available at the Web site http://www.dhs.ca.gov/director/owh.

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