We celebrate Mother’s Day by honoring the important women that have made an impact in our lives. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also observes women in a special way by promoting NATIONAL WOMEN’S HEALTH WEEK (May 11th – 17th).
Using the theme “It’s Your Time,” NATIONAL WOMEN’S HEALTH WEEK encourages women to focus on their own health and well-being. Women often place the needs of others before their own and while this might seem admirable, it puts women’s health at risk. Additionally, research has shown that when women take care of their own health, the health of their families improves as well.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Women’s Health recommends that women take the following steps to improve their physical and mental health, and potentially reduce their risk of certain diseases:
1. Visit a health care professional to receive regular checkups and preventive screening
Screening tests, such as mammograms and Pap tests, can detect diseases early when they are easy to treat. Screening can also help women lower their risks for many other health conditions, including heart disease.
2. Pay attention to mental health, including sleep and managing stress
Emotional well-being will allow you the ability to successfully manage your feelings as you deal with life’s challenges. Being emotionally balanced is a strong contributor to your overall good health.
3. Be more active
Aim for at least 2 ½ hours of moderate to vigorous activity each week. You can spread this activity out over 30-minute increments, five days a week or choose to do them in bouts of 10 minutes. Add in some muscle-strengthening exercises 2 or more days a week. Do something you love – walking, biking, organized classes, as long it gets you moving.
4. Eat healthy
Making smart food choices can help you maintain a healthy weight and lower your risk for a number of diseases. Avoid processed foods to reduce your intake of saturated and trans-fats, excess sugar and sodium. Focus on fruits and vegetables, which are low in calories and high in nutrition, whole grains, lean proteins and non-fat and low-fat dairy. Drink plenty of water.
Why not show tribute to the women in your lives that you are thankful for by encouraging them to take time this upcoming week to assess their own health status?
I dedicate this column to my own mother who I lost to lung cancer on December 13, 2001. Thanks mom, for instilling in me the value of motherhood. And thank you to my three sons for making it all worthwhile!
For more information on National Women’s Health Week, visit http://womenshealth.gov/
Deborah Moss is a registered dietitian and certified dietetic nutritionist. She is the owner of Natural Nutrition and Wellness, a private nutrition counseling practice that specializes in women’s health and wellness, specifically focusing on weight management and the integration of nutrition for disease prevention and management. Deborah graduated from Queens College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition. She completed a dietetic internship program through LIU, CW Post. She has presented nutrition and wellness classes associated with diabetes, heart disease and weight management to numerous clients through corporate wellness programs. Deborah’s goal in counseling is in helping others achieve a healthier and more balanced life.
For any diet and nutrition questions, contact Deborah at nnwellness.com!