On Sunday May 10, families throughout the US celebrated Mothers Day, an opportunity to show gratitude to our mothers for all they do. This also marked the start of the 16th annual National Womens Health Week, an initiative to empower women to take care of themselves and make their health a priority.
With increasing pressure to balance work, family life and other commitments, women can easily fall into the trap of putting their health last as depicted in a somewhat humorous but heartfelt video Just a Little Heart Attack, part of a Go Red For Women campaign launched in 2011 but still very relevant today. National Womens Health Week, which ran until May 16, reminded women to put themselves first and demonstrates what steps they can take to live a healthy life, including regular doctor visits, getting active, eating well and paying attention to mental health.
This year the focus is on promoting health at every age, taking into consideration how a womans health changes each decade. For women in their 30s, recommendations include annual checkups and preventive screening tests, maintenance of healthy lifestyle habits, paying attention to sleep and stress levels, and seasonal flu shots. In addition to this, women in their 70s are encouraged to talk to their doctor about hearing and vision problems, preventing falls, and screening for osteoporosis, colorectal and breast cancer.
Women can take advantage of disease prevention and screening measures for women central to the Affordable Care Act, enabling free access to preventive services such as mammograms, domestic violence screening and well-woman visits. Greater emphasis on disease prevention means better health for women, families and the nation.
Are you a stay at home mom? Or a career woman with a family and kids? Do you take time to take care of yourself? What helps or prevents you from doing so, and could your workplace or community do more to help?