National Women's Health Week. This is a week-long effort to promote women's health across the United States, and to increase women's awareness of what they do to take care of themselves. Many organizations including businesses, communities, medical centers and government institutions are putting on programs and ad campaigns to help women understand how to stay healthy as they get older.
Why is this Important?
Women's health is an important focus because there are noticeable disparities between women's health and that of their male counterparts.
➢ Women are more likely to be obese than men, are and are less likely to be physically active.
➢ Women also are more likely than men to suffer from chronic sleep deprivation, which has rippling effects in their overall health.
➢ Women are more likely than men to turn to the Internet for diagnosis and advice rather than seeing a doctor, which often leads to misdiagnosis and improper treatment for the actual root health problem.
This year during National Women's Health Week, it's important for women to take more ownership over their health. Although recent guidelines have changed typical health targets, like starting bi-annual mammograms at age 50 instead of 40, women can turn to specialists in women's health services to help them understand these changes. They can also take steps toward a healthier lifestyle, which can help prevent many of the leading causes of death for women in the United States.
Make this Mother's Day Different
This Mother's Day, women across the United States can add some health-conscious activities to their routines in a number of simple ways.
• #1 Walk Every Day
Building in a routine of 30 minutes of light cardiovascular activity five days per week is a great start toward a healthier lifestyle. Moms can walk their kids to school, chat with neighborhood friends while walking each evening or take a walk during their lunch break from work.
• #2 Prepare Healthy Meals
As the ones primarily responsible for cooking, moms can take the initiative to introduce healthy foods to the whole family. Meals that are low in fat and that contain lots of dark vegetables can build in a wider range of healthy eating habits.
• #3 Attend to Mental Health
Many moms feel like they never get a break, and this stress can lead to many health problems. This Mother's Day, families should make sure that every mom gets some time to herself to do something she loves. Many moms love taking yoga and Pilates classes, which not only help with relaxation, but also muscle tone and posture.
• #4 Stop Unhealthy Behaviors
Smoking, drinking more than one alcoholic beverage per day, and eating a diet high in sugar, sodium or fat can all lead to health problems. Finding support to stop these unhealthy behaviors is a great way to move toward a healthier life.
• #5 Get Regular Checkups
One of the best ways to catch health problems early is to get regular checkups in the context of an ongoing relationship with a medical care provider. Women who see the same provider every year can get an outside perspective on how their health is changing each year.
Moms often work harder than anyone in the family, putting everyone else's needs above their own. This year for Mother's Day, families across the United States should celebrate their mothers and all of the time, energy, and care they put into their roles. When moms occasionally neglect their own health, it's the family's job to step in and tend to their ongoing health and ensure plenty more years to enjoy with the family.
Byline: Jon Dawson is an attorney and professional writer in Indianapolis. He often writes on behalf of IUHealth about health and fitness topics, and he is a contributor to the DoseOfMyown.com blog, a conversation on health and wellness.