Characteristics of yoga and meditation users among older Australian women – results from the 45 and up study

Background and purpose

Young, healthy women with good education primarily use yoga and meditation. However, little information exists about the use of yoga and meditation by chronically ill older women. This Study was designed to examine the characteristics of yoga use and meditation among Australian women aged between middle-aged and older with chronic conditions.

Materials and Methods

This Study is a substudy of the “45 and Up Study,” which included 1925 Australian women aged between 53 and 95 years with chronic conditions such as asthma, depression, osteoarthritis, and diabetes. Self-reports were used to assess yoga and meditation frequency (categories ‘no,’ at least weekly and at least monthly), as well as self-perceived efficacy and communication with healthcare providers. Logistic Regression analyses, conducted using SPSS 24.0, were used to identify independent predictors for yoga and meditation usage.


Yoga and meditation were practiced by 6.8% of women and 10.7% respectively. Meditation was practiced under supervision only rarely (11.7%), while yoga had a significantly higher rate (53.2%). The likelihood of using yoga or meditation was predicted by marital status, higher health-related hardiness, and higher education. Obesity and diabetes were the opposite. Although the majority of respondents found that yoga and meditation were helpful in their condition, they rarely had the opportunity to discuss or monitor their use with healthcare practitioners.

The conclusion of the article is:

The Study found that women between middle and high school who have chronic illnesses use yoga and meditation. It is alarming that there has been a lack of communication between healthcare professionals and patients. This could hinder effective and coordinated health care for chronic illnesses. It is important to conduct further research in order to understand better the possible concurrent use of health care and how those with chronic diseases can use this.

The following is a brief introduction to the topic:

The National Health Interview Survey shows that in 2017, yoga and meditation were the complementary healthcare methods most commonly used in the USA. One in seven adults reported practicing both yoga and meditation [1]. In the past decade, research has shown that yoga and meditation are beneficial for both healthy adults and adults with medical conditions. Yoga, for instance, has been shown by research to reduce symptoms of asthma [2], diabetes [4], depression [3], and osteoarthritis. Clinical research has also shown that meditation can have positive effects, not only on depression but also on chronic pain [7] or mental health problems associated with chronic conditions like chronic fatigue and rheumatoid arthritis [8]. Yoga and meditation are also effective and safe for older adults, such as managing frailty and improving mobility, sleep quality, or quality of life. Yoga and meditation can be easily incorporated into self-care and, as a result, may contribute to reducing the socioeconomic impact of chronic illness at a low cost [14]. Both practices have therapeutic benefits but are primarily used by young, healthy women who are well-educated. The prevalence of their use in older adults is much lower [14], a group that has a higher risk of chronic illnesses than younger adults [15]. To estimate the value of yoga and meditation as part of the broader healthcare usage of older adults, it is important to identify patterns of practice and characteristics that are associated with the use of these practices in older populations who have chronic illnesses. This information may be used to identify factors that promote or prevent the use of meditation and yoga in chronically ill older individuals. It can also provide a basis for coordinated and informed health care.This Study aimed to examine the prevalence of yoga and meditation and its association with sociodemographic factors and health-related variables among middle-to older-aged Australian women with chronic diseases using cross-sectional information from the 45 and up Study.


Section snippets

Materials and Methods

This Study presents the results of a 45 and Up Study sub-study [16] by the Sax Institute. The Sax Institute, a national leader in promoting research evidence to inform health policy, is a non-profit organization. The Sax Institute manages the 45 and Up Study in collaboration with the Cancer Council of New South Wales as their main partner, along with other partners, including the NSW Ministry of Health (NSW Division), NSW Government Family & Community, NSW Government Family & Community.


In the Study, 25 women aged between 53 and 95 years old (median age 68) were diagnosed with one or more chronic conditions: asthma, depression, osteoarthritis, or osteoporosis. However, due to missing data, some cases (N =91 missing cases related to questions about yoga and meditation usage) could not be analyzed. Women reported living primarily in inner-regional areas (39.7%) and major cities (48.2%). Outer-regional (11.3%) and remote (0.9%) were the next most common. Most women are married.


Some Australian women aged between middle and older had practiced yoga or meditation within the last 12 months. Our survey showed that only 7% of respondents practiced yoga, and 11% meditated. This is in contrast to the general public, where yoga use is twice as common as meditation [14]. This could be explained by the inverse relationship between yoga and meditation usage with age.

The conclusion of the article is:

This Study shows that Australian women aged between middle and older use yoga and meditation to manage chronic illness. The majority of women found yoga and meditation beneficial for their diseases, but the lack of communication between healthcare providers was concerning. This could lead to inadequate coordinated care for chronic illness. It is important to conduct further research in order to better understand the possible use of concurrent health care and provide safe, effective, and coordinated care.

Statement of Ethics

The University of NSW Human Research Ethics Committee and the University of Technology Sydney Human Research Ethics Committee have approved the conduct of the 45-and-Up Study (approval number: 201400059).


This research was completed using data collected through the 45 and Up Study ( The Sax Institute manages the 45 and Up Study in collaboration with Cancer Council NSW and other partners, including the National Heart Foundation of Australia, NSW Ministry of Health, NSW Government Family & Community Services – Ageing, Carer, and the Disability Council NSW, and the Australian Red Cross Blood Service. Thank you to the thousands of participants in

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