National Women's Health Week: Time for Women to Focus on Their Own Well-Being

National Women's Health Week: Time for Women to Focus on Their Own Well-Being

May 7, 2006 6:00 PM

SALT LAKE CITY - Utah women guard the health of their families, but they're not as careful about themselves.

The National Center for Health Statistics and the Office on Women's health rank Utah near the bottom nationally in routine check-ups and preventive screenings for women: 51st in cervical cancer screenings; 48th in routine preventive examinations; 47th in mammograms; and 44th in cholesterol screenings (Women's Health and Mortality Chartbook).

The Utah Health Department and University of Utah National Center for Excellence in Women's Health are partnering to change those numbers. They urge Utah women to reconnect to their health during National Women's Health Week, which begins Mother's Day, May 14, and runs through May 20.

Kathleen B. Digre, M.D., director of the U of U National Center of Excellence in Women's Health and a professor at the School of Medicine, says women need to make good health a priority. "We want to remind all our mothers, sisters, daughters, aunts, and friends to take time for themselves," Digre says. "Get a check-up and take time during the week to stop and focus on your health."

This week, a number of local and national events will encourage women to think about their health.

The nationally sponsored "Woman Challenge" (Women and Girls across the nation), invites women to walk six virtual routes across the United States. Participants will receive a free pedometer for the eight-week challenge. Details can be found at http://www.4woman.gov/whw/woman/.

In Utah, the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation's Race for the Cure, May 13, raises awareness of the importance of a breast-health program: annual mammograms beginning at age 40; clinical breast exams at least every three years beginning at age 20 and annually at age 40; and monthly breast self-examinations for all women beginning by age 20.

On May 11-12, the race will sponsor a Health Expo in the Union Pacific Depot at the Gateway mall. The state health department and U of U Center of Excellence will give away pedometers and educational materials from 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.

To maintain their health, the nation's 150 million women are advised to follow five habits: get regular check-ups; eat healthy; exercise, don't smoke, and follow general safety rules.

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To access the Woman's Health and Mortality Chartbook for profiles of all states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, visit http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/datawh/statab/chartbook.htm.

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