If ever there was a time for women to do something healthy it’s this week – National Women’s Health Week.
Of course it should not take a PR generated proclamation for anyone – female or male – to adopt a healthier lifestyle. Truth is, we’re all so busy, so stressed, that sometimes it takes a virtual klonk on the noggin to stop long enough and pay attention to important, but often ignored, health issues.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
Women’s health has improved significantly in the last century, but much still needs to be done. For example,
- Heart disease, cancer, and stroke are the leading causes of death in women.
(Source: Leading Causes of Death in Females, United States, 2006)
- More than one-third of U.S. adults were obese in 2007–2008; 35.5% were women.
(Source: Prevalence and Trends in Obesity Among US Adults, 1999-2008)
- Women and infants disproportionately bear the long term consequences of sexually transmitted diseases.
(Source: STDs in Women and Infants, STD Surveillance, 2008)
- Each year, women experience about 4.8 million intimate partner related physical assaults and rapes.
(Source: Understanding Intimate Partner Violence, 2009
What can you do to become healthier – or encourage a woman in your life to do so?
Schedule a check-up – annual screenings, including mammograms, Pap tests, physicals, vaccinations can help you stay healthy.
Know your family’s health history and make sure other family members know as well. It will give you (and them) a heads up to be aware of possible serious conditions that may be hereditary, such as heart disease, diabetes, or sickle cell disease.
Get up and MOVE! Join First Lady Michelle Obama’s campaign and get off the couch. Just 30 minutes of exercise, five times a week, means a much healthier (and probably trimmer) you.
Don’t smoke, and if you do, try to quit. It just might be the best thing you can do for yourself.
Eat more nutritious foods. WomensHealth.gov has loads of dietary suggestions and tips, including ones that address special needs like low-sodium, or heart-healthy eating.
Don’t take unnecessary health risks, such as not wearing a seatbelt when driving, drinking too much alcohol, or having a diet full of high-fat, high-calorie foods.
Make sure you get enough sleep and do what you can to manage stress – yoga, meditation, taking a walk, or a bubble bath can all help.
Make your home safer. Thousands of older Americans suffer preventable falls each year – leading to injury and disability. Many hazards in the home are overlooked, but easy to fix, such as picking up scatter rugs, installing grips in the shower or tub, picking up clutter, such as books or magazines, off of the floor and stairs. Check out the CDC’s full safety checklist.
Every woman needs to make time to care for herself, so she can also care for others in her life. You can do your best for them if you don’t first do your best for yourself.