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National Women’s Health Week

Women all over the country are celebrating National Women’s Health Week, May 13-19, 2012. This weeklong observance begins every year on Mother’s Day (the second Sunday in May), and is coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health with the goal of uniting communities, businesses, government, and health organizations in an effort to promote better women’s health.

“It’s Your Time” is the theme for this year’s National Women’s Health Week, and this year’s events place special emphasis on encouraging women to take the time to lower their risk of developing lifestyle related diseases by improving physical and mental wellness. This year, the Office of Women’s Health is placing special emphasis on the following five health tips:

  1. Get at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate physical activity, or 1 hour and 15 minutes of intense physical activity, or a combination of these two activity levels every week
  2. Eat a nutritious diet
  3. Visit a doctor to receive regular checkups and preventative tests
  4. Avoid unhealthy behaviors (including smoking, drinking, and even driving without a seatbelt)
  5. Maintain good mental health (including managing stress effectively and getting enough rest every night)

Women’s health events vary by state, city, and community, but include races, fitness classes, fun runs and walks, health fairs, luncheons, classes, and lectures. On the national level, women are encouraged to take the National Woman Challenge and the National Woman’s Checkup Day Pledge. In conjunction with President Obama’s fitness challenges, the National Women’s Health Week Woman Challenge encourages women to commit to almost daily routine physical activity for six weeks. The National Women’s Checkup Day Pledge, motivates women to schedule regular check ups and preventative screenings and schedule at least one health screening this month.

Although women’s health is a popular topic, women’s health day is an important week to bring women’s health to the forefront of our minds. As women, we are often caregivers for loved ones—including parents, spouses, and children—or work in a care giving or service field. With our focus often on the health and well being of others, it’s easy for us to put our own health at a lower priority level. This week, or this month, make a resolution to think about your own health and wellness a little more by taking important steps towards a healthier lifestyle.

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