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Updated at 7:27 am on 5 July 2012
Women are more likely to put off going to see a doctor or buy prescription medicines than men because they don't have the money, even though they often suffer more from chronic conditions.
A study from the University of Otago found that 19.9% of women defer going to a doctor because they cannot afford it compared to 11.4% of men.
Young women who smoke, are poor and have other illnesses are also more likely to avoid the doctor because of financial reasons.
The study also found Maori women were more likely to avoid buying prescription medicine despite seeing a doctor.
Study co-author Professor Peter Crampton says the results are concerning because women are quite often responsible for looking after children and elderly.
He says without free or low-cost health care, many of these women will continue to delay visits to their doctor.
Copyright © 2012, Radio New Zealand
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