Homemade Cards, Flowers, Brunch - and a Physical?

This Sunday marks the celebration of Mother's Day and the beginning of National Women’s Health Week (NWHW). NWHW is an annual week long observance led by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office on Women’s Health (OWH) that aims to empower women to make their health a priority and increase their understanding of what it means to be well. 

Mother’s Day is a chance to show our appreciation and celebrate mothers, grandmothers, aunts, and special women in our lives who have taken care of us over the years, through childhood and beyond. In the United States, the onus of care taking falls disproportionately on women, a growing number who are working fulltime, caring for their children, and supporting aging parents. Whether they are mothers, health care providers, primary caretakers, child care providers, formal or informal caregivers – the reality is the women in our society charged with making sure everyone is healthy and well cared for are often not taking the time to care for themselves.

Women of all abilities across the lifespan can benefit from understanding and investing in their health. Scheduling routine preventative care, reproductive and prenatal health screenings and services; accessing diagnostic services; receiving timely care when ill; and engaging in regular health promotion activities are key components of maintaining and achieving personal health and wellness goals.

Being healthy looks different for every woman and whether she is training for a marathon, working hard to get an extra 10 minutes of activity each day, or trying to get more sleep, each goal is an important and worthwhile investment. NWHW highlights the importance of being as healthy as possible by identifying five steps every woman, regardless of age and ability, can take to improve her physical and mental health:

  • Visit a health care professional to receive regular checkups and preventative screenings.
  • Get active.
  • Eat healthy.
  • Pay attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress.
  • Avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, texting while driving, and not wearing a seatbelt or bicycle helmet.

This Mother’s Day, show mom you care by encouraging her to take care of herself. Ask her to join a national community of women by signing the NWHW pledge to get healthy and live a longer, happier life: http://womenshealth.gov/nwhw/learn/pledge/. This weekend, I plan on celebrating Mother’s Day by signing the pledge, encouraging the women I love to do the same, taking a walk with my wonderful family, and getting a little extra sleep on Sunday morning.

To learn more about National Women's Health Week, visit: http://womenshealth.gov/nwhw/

To learn more about health and wellness resources for women with disabilities, visit: http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/women.html

Anna Lenhart has a MPH in Maternal and Child Health. She is a project manager at New Editions and focuses on health and community integration for people with disabilities. Read Anna's bio.

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