Advocating for All Women | National Women’s Health Week
May 6, 2022
There are 4 billion women in the world, but no two are exactly alike. From your skin and your smile to your passions and your interests, you are one in 4 billion, and for that, you deserve to be celebrated. And save some celebration for those who mean the most to you: mothers, aunts, lifelong friends, and mentors who have shaped you into who you are today.
This week, our hats are off to all women making a difference.
Women are powerful forces: in Office, in business, and within family and friendship circles. They educate, advocate, and inspire the next generation of female leaders. That’s because women were designed to do great things — right down to their DNA.
Clearly, women’s bodies are capable of a lot — and this week, we not only celebrate what the body is capable of, but we strategize how we can best support it: so that you can keep contributing to your world and beyond.
Oftentimes, women get so caught up in caring for others that they forget to take care of themselves. National Women’s Health Week serves as a reminder to take the extra time to check in on your physical, mental, and emotional health.
Even if it’s just for a few minutes every day, it’s important to take stock of your body. Women’s bodies have unique capabilities, but they also have unique health risks.
Some of the top women’s health issues include:
Heart disease — Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and it accounts for 1 in 5 female deaths every year. About 1 in 16 women live with heart disease.
Gynecologic cancer — Gynecologic cancer is any cancer that begins in a woman’s reproductive organs. Common types of gynecologic cancer include cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, vaginal cancer, and vulvar cancer. Every year, 100,000 women are diagnosed with gynecologic cancer.
Infertility — Infertility is diagnosed when a woman tries, unsuccessfully, to get pregnant for one year. About 10% of women ages 18-44 have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant.
Autoimmune diseases — Autoimmune diseases happen when the body’s natural defense system attacks healthy cells. Autoimmune diseases affect 23.5 million Americans, and nearly 80% of those affected are women. The most common types of autoimmune diseases among women are lupus, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and thyroid diseases.
Mental illness — 1 in 5 adults live with a mental illness. Many mental illnesses are more common in women. Women, for instance, are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, and specific phobias. They are also statistically more likely to be affected by obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder, and major depressive disorder.
These are just some of the top health issues affecting women, but many others arise for women on a daily basis.
The aim of National Women’s Health Week is to educate women about each of these issues, teach them to spot the signs, encourage them to seek treatment, and help them work towards optimal health.
When is Women’s Health Week 2022?
This year, National Women’s Health Week is May 8-14, 2022.
This year’s focus is “Achieving Healthier Futures Together.” In anticipation of National Women’s Health Week, the Office on Women’s Health is holding several webinars on topics including maternal equity and public health. It is also offering promotional tools and social media toolkits in order to help you get the word out about National Women’s Health Week.
Use these resources to your advantage to make the most out of the week.
How Can I Observe Women’s Health Week?
If you’re looking to get involved in all the action of National Women’s Health Week, you should do two things: 1. check in on your own health, and 2. encourage other women to do the same. In order to accomplish these goals, you can:
Schedule your annual physical — Find a local primary care physician who can ensure that you’re healthy and up-to-date on all of your records.
Schedule preventive care appointments — Preventive care appointments include PAP smears, mammograms, bone density scans, cholesterol screenings, and blood pressure screenings. For tests and scans, schedule an appointment with your primary care physician or gynecologist. For less intensive tests, like cholesterol and blood pressure screenings, look to your local community pharmacy to provide these services at a lower cost.
Maintain a healthy weight — Keeping a healthy weight can lower your risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other weight-related conditions. Talk to your doctor, nurse, or local pharmacist about your health goals and get a personalized treatment plan to stay at a healthy weight.
Eat well-balanced meals and snacks — Choose nutrient-rich foods to power you through this week and every week. Explore tips for healthy eating at home and when dining out.
Get moving and stay active — Physical activity is one of the best ways to enhance your health. Create a weekly activity plan to get in 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise and 2 days of strength training every week.
Find healthy ways to manage stress — Find the right tools to handle your daily stressors. Schedule quiet time, read a book, or take a yoga class to reframe your mind and invite a bit of peace and quiet into your routine.
Practice self-care — Make time to recognize and respond to your own needs. Make a list of self-care activities and implement them in your day-to-day life. Find a few of our favorite ways to practice self-care.
Create good sleeping habits — 1 in 3 adults don’t get the sleep they need. In order to be your best self, you need rest. Aim to get 7 hours of sleep per night. To do this, follow a nighttime routine and keep a sleep diary in order to ensure you’re getting the quantity and quality of sleep you need.
Share how you’re celebrating — As you take time for your health this week, don’t forget to share your efforts with others. Check in on your friends and family, encourage them to take positive steps towards better health, and create a community that puts wellness first. Don’t forget to tag your social media posts with the hashtag #NWHW.
Women make up half the world: so you owe it to yourself, your friends and family, and the world around you to stay healthy.
This National Women’s Health Week, take some time to prioritize your health and practice healthy habits: no matter what they may look like. Take a walk, grab a snack, and be honest with how you’re feeling.
A few small steps from you can contribute to a better, healthier world for all women.