What does women’s health mean 365 days a year?

By Candice

For 17 years, the US Department of Women’s Health has recognized Women’s health week in early May. The goal is to empower women to make their health a priority. But when we refer to health, many don’t realize that the term goes beyond occasional visits to the doctor’s office or a trip to the park once a month.  It means taking care of your mental and physical state all the time throughout all stages of your life.

Part of your physical care falls under seeking medical care when needed. Statistics show 26%, or 1 in 4 women delayed or did not seek health care due to costs1. By delaying care, annual screenings, STD testing, prenatal treatment and other medical services go untreated or diagnosed, leading to lower qualities of life. More affordable health plans through employers, federal and private insurance companies as well as accessible education on plans can hopefully reduce the amount of women not getting the care they deserve and need.

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Another part of taking care of your health is developing and strengthening positive behaviors. Smoking, texting while driving, healthy diets, and not getting enough physical activity/exercise are concerns that many women struggle with. Body types, mobility, chronic disease (think obesity, arthritis, diabetes) all factor into what women are able to complete in regards to exercise, but lower rates of smoking, healthier diets (and access to healthy food options) and not texting while driving are all steps women can take on at any time of their life. Mental health is a huge deal as well. It is estimated that 1 in 5 women deals with mental health problems such as PTSD, eating disorders or depression2. Seeking diagnosis/treatment and taking time to do things you love (with people or pets you also love) helps to recharge your batteries.

Check out US Women’s Health to get tips, resources and more info on self-care, self-love and self-efficacy. Taking care of your health goes beyond a week or a month—it’s a lifetime commitment.

1Women and Health Care in the Early Years of the ACA: Key Findings from the 2013 Kaiser Women’s Health Survey
2SAMHSA, Past Year Mental Disorders among Adults in the United States: Results from the 2008-2012 Mental Health Surveillance Study

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