Every May the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office on Women’s Health (OWH) asks communities to come together and empower women to make their health a priority by observing National Women’s Health Week. Kicked off on Mother’s Day and followed on Monday by National Women’s Check-up Day, the weeklong observance encourages women to take steps that improve physical and mental health and lower risk for certain diseases.
About 59 percent of Community Health Center patients are female and, as safety-net providers, health centers offer women affordable, quality, preventative primary care. At Community Health Centers women have access to cervical and breast cancer screenings, prenatal and many other services that promote a healthier lifestyle. In fact, 99 percent of health centers provide cervical cancer screening onsite and 60 percent provide breast cancer screening onsite, giving women across the country access to live-saving mammograms and pap tests. In 2011 alone, health centers provided more than 334,000 mammograms to more than 314,000 patients and more than 1.9 million pap tests to more than 1.8 million patients.
We all know that as caregivers women often put family needs before their own, especially when it comes to their health. That’s why OWH rallies communities to come together to raise awareness about women’s health and the simple steps they can take to lower their risks, including:
- Visiting a health care professional to receive regular check-ups and preventive screenings
- Getting active
- Eating healthy
- Paying attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress
- Avoiding unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, not wearing a seatbelt or bicycle helmet and texting while driving
By visiting the National Women’s Health Week website women can find events in their area and also sign-up for the 2013 WOMAN Challenge. The WOMAN Challenge allows women to track their physical activity, healthy eating and follow their progress. They can even join or create a team and interact with team members.
If you would like more information on National Women’s Health Week, including health resources, activity planning resources, visit the National Women’s Health Week website.