Galveston County Health District celebrates National Women’s Health Week
Week serves as a reminder for women to make their health a priority
Galveston County Health District (GCHD) is encouraging women to take steps to improve their health as it celebrates National Women’s Health Week, May 13-19.
The week serves as a reminder for women to make their health a priority and to build positive health habits.
Mental and physical health go hand-in-hand. Taking care of mental health can lead to feeling better physically.
Each year, one in five women in the United States has a mental illness ranging from mild to serious. Almost twice as many women as men have been diagnosed with anxiety and women are more than twice as likely as men to develop PTSD, according to the Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
“Take care of yourself. As women, we tend to care for others, often forgetting to make sure we’re doing OK. Take the time each day to do something you enjoy,” said Kathy Barroso, GCHD CEO. “This will help reduce stress levels dramatically. Reach out to friends and family for help when you need it, and even when you need to vent.”
Women need two-and-a-half hours of moderate intensity physical activity every week. That amounts to about 30 minutes a day. But, fewer than 50 percent of women get enough aerobic activity and only 20 percent get enough muscle-strengthening activity, the Office on Women’s Health reports.
Taking 30 minutes a day for a brisk walk is enough to lower the risk of breast cancer. Women who get enough physical activity can reduce their risk of heart disease and cancer – the most common diseases that affect women. Walk to work if possible, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Every little bit helps.
Nearly two out of three women 20 years and older are overweight or obese. Foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean protein have the nutrients needed without having too many calories.
“We make about 200 decisions about food each day. That’s a lot,” Barroso added. “It’s not always easy to make healthy decisions, but it’s definitely important and worth it. Choose water instead of soda. Use a smaller plate when eating to control your portions.”
Schedule your well-woman visit
Nearly one out of three women report not visiting a doctor because of cost, but most health plans are required to cover an annual well-woman visit at no cost to the patient. More than 75 percent of women 40-60 years old have at least one risk factor for heart disease, the most common cause of death in women in the United States.
Remember to bring a list of current medications to the well-woman visit. It’s also a good idea to make a list of questions and concerns you want to ask the doctor. A well-woman visit is a time to discuss family history and family planning. Schedule necessary tests, including screenings for high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sexually transmitted diseases and more.