National Women’s Health Week (NWHW) begins each year on Mother’s Day. It is a week-long observance led by the Office on Women’s Health (OWH) under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). It is a reminder to women, encouraging them, to make their health a priority and build positive healthy habits. Here are a few steps to live a healthier life:
Preventive care and regular screenings
Regular check-ups are important and helps you to protect your health by getting the care you need. Preventive care—the care you receive to prevent illnesses—can keep disease away or detect it early, when treatment is more effective. Your local healthcare provider can help you learn about what screenings you require and when. Before your appointment, review your family health history and write down any questions that you might have. Many health insurance companies provide diagnostic plans for women with no additional cost.
One of the most important things you can do for your health is regular physical activity. The many benefits of physical activity include lowering risk of a heart disease, weight management, strengthening bones and muscles, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome, and even some cancers. Adults are required to do 2 hours 30 minutes each week of aerobic physical activity of moderate effort and strengthening activities for at least 2 days a week that include all major muscle groups. One out of four older people fall each year and women fall more often than men. Strength and balance training can help reduce falls.
Maintain a healthy balanced diet
Nutrition is an essential part of living a healthy lifestyle and involves many choices. Let’s look at some basics:
- A healthy eating plan should include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat milk products and be low in saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, sodium (salt), and added sugars.
- Include lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs and nuts.
- Women require folic acid every day for their bodies to make healthy new cells.
- Avoid excessive alcohol. If you choose to drink, drink in moderation (1 drink a day) as alcohol increases the risk of harmful health conditions that lead to chronic illnesses.
- Stay within your daily calorie limits.
Prioritize mental health
Mental health is crucial for overall well-being. To keep one's mind healthy is just as important as keeping the body healthy. Our ability to think, act, and feel depends on our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. One in five women in the U.S. suffer from symptoms of depression.
Practice healthy behaviors
Your day-to-day decisions can influence your overall health. Even small actions can keep you safe and model an example for others. For instance:
- Avoid distracted driving/texting while driving
- Get enough sleep
- Be smoke-free
- Always wear a seat belt
- Stay up-to-date with cancer screening tests
During the outbreak of COVID-19, it is important for girls and women to take care of themselves and make their health a priority. Especially those with underlying conditions such as hypertension, respiratory illness, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and women 65 years and older need to take care of their health.