National Women’s Health Week 2012 – “It’s Your Time.”

It’s your time!

National Women’s Health Week is a weeklong health observance coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health. It brings together communities, businesses, government, health organizations, and other groups in an effort to promote women’s health. The theme for 2012 is “It’s Your Time.”

National Women’s Health Week empowers women to make their health a top priority. It also encourages women to take the following steps to improve their physical and mental health and lower their risks of certain diseases:

National Women’s Health Week

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health recognized May 13 through May 19 as National Women’s Health Week. This week-long health observance is an effort to promote women’s health.

For 2012, the theme is “It’s Your Time.”

One goal of National Women’s Health Week is to empower women to make their health a top priority. It also encourages women to take steps to improve their physical and mental health and lower their risks of certain diseases.

Women who make their health a priority for themselves and their families make sure they:

  • Visit a health care professional to receive regular checkups and preventive screenings
  • Become more active
  • Eat healthier foods and reduce their portion sizes
  • Pay attention to their mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress
  • Avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking and not wearing a seat belt or bicycle helmet

Women may put off going to a health care professional due to lack of insurance or cost. In Cayuga County, women ages 40-64 who have limited or no health insurance do not have to put off preventive screening anymore! The Cancer Services Program provides breast and cervical screenings to eligible women. Annually, women should receive a breast exam performed by a health care provider, as well as a mammogram, pap smear and pelvic exam. The program also provides colorectal cancer screenings to women ages 50-64.

If you or a loved one is interested in learning more about the Cayuga County Cancer Services Program, call the health department at 253-1560.

Times have changed and the modern woman has less time for herself now. Daily, women juggle their careers and families, cooking and cleaning, leaving less time for a woman to exercise. Being active is important not only to the physical health, but also to the mental health of a woman.

An active lifestyle can lower health risks related to:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Unhealthy cholesterol levels
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Colon cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Falls
  • Depression

Eating healthier does not have to be difficult. Small changes to your diet can have big results. Filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal is one way to make a change. You can save money and support local farmers by shopping for produce at your local farmers’ markets. Switching to low-fat (1 percent) or skim milk and low-fat dairy products is a healthy choice! Eating more grains, especially whole grains like oatmeal and brown rice, will help keep you healthy!

It is no secret to anyone, especially women, that smoking is an unhealthy habit that leads to many health conditions, including death. Smoking can make illnesses last longer, cause more wound infections after surgery, and make it harder to get pregnant. Quitting smoking is one of the best gifts a woman could give herself or her family. Your health begins to improve the minute you stop smoking, and you begin to lower your long-term risk of many smoking-related diseases.

Women should not feel bad about taking time out for themselves. Getting enough sleep each night is one way you can take time for yourself. Being rested allows you to focus better and helps to reduce stress.

For women to maintain their careers, family and household, women have to be healthy, both physically and mentally. Women cannot possibly give the best care to their family if they are sick. “It’s Your Time” to make your health a priority so that you are healthy enough to care for yourself and your family.

Elane Daly is the director of health and human services for Cayuga County.

She can be reached at 253-1560 or c[email protected] .

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