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Taking Care of Ourselves: No Longer Last on the To-Do List

By Lianne E. Jacobs, MPH
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Pat yourself on the backs, parents. You survived a busy summer season filled with camp and travel plans, and you somehow managed to get your kids ready to head back to school, too! New backpack? Check. Cute sign for the first day of school? Check. A back-to-school check-up with the pediatrician? Check.

Amidst all the craziness of focusing on your children and making sure they had what they needed to start this school year off on the right foot – (including a new pair of shoes!) – did you make sure to schedule your preventive care check-up too?

It’s easy to put everything and everyone above taking care of ourselves on the to-do lists. But we know how important preventive care is for our short- and long-term health, so we’re only doing ourselves and our families a disservice by putting off our own preventive care. With flu season right around the corner, it’s time to think about taking care of ourselves, and not just our little ones.

While the below is not a comprehensive list, it should serve as a starting point to help you reflect on your health. Schedule a visit with your primary care doctor to discuss what screenings and vaccinations are right for you. And then don’t forget to upload proof of completion to earn Vitality Points for taking care of your health!

  • Flu vaccineClinical guidelines recommend everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine each fall
  • Dental cleaning Clinical guidelines recommend adults get a dental cleaning at least once a year (many dentists recommend visits every 6 months) to prevent serious health conditions associated with poor oral health
  • Breast cancer screeningClinical guidelines recommend that females ages 40-74 years have a screening mammogram every two years to check for breast cancer.
  • Cervical cancer screeningClinical guidelines recommend screening for cervical cancer every 3-5 years for females ages 21-65 years, with either cervical cytology, HPV testing, or a combination of both.
  • Colorectal cancer screeningClinical guidelines recommend screening for colorectal cancer in all adults ages 45-75 years to prevent or reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Depending on the type of screening test, recommended intervals range from every 1-3 years to every 10 years.
  • Biometric screening assessment – A Biometric screening checks blood sugar, blood pressure, total cholesterol and body composition (BMI and waist circumference) – and sometimes cigarette smoking status. Knowing these numbers is a good way to assess your risk for chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease and helps support you in your wellness journey.

Lianne Jacobs - Vitality
Lianne E. Jacobs, MPH, Health Communications Strategist, has a master’s degree in public health from Yale University. She is the only indoor cycling instructor who can’t ride a bike. She enjoys traveling the world, laughing at her own jokes, changing diapers, and tricking her husband into eating baked goods made with hidden vegetables.

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