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FOR RELEASE: May 4, 2004
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Celebrate Women’s Health Week With a Prescription for Health
Women’s Health Week, May 9 - 15

Women spend so much time taking care of others that they sometimes neglect to take care of themselves, according to officials at the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH). Gov. Brad Henry has declared May 9-15, 2004, as National Women’s Health Week in Oklahoma to celebrate the extraordinary progress in women’s health and recognize that more needs to be done.

The leading causes of death among women are heart disease, cancer and stroke. Heart disease is Oklahoma’s leading killer of women, claiming the lives of over 5,500 adult women in 2001. The second leading killer of women is cancer, with about 3,500 deaths each year, including nearly 1,000 lung cancer and over 500 breast cancer deaths in 2001. Stroke, another major killer of Oklahoma women, was responsible for more than 1,400 deaths in 2001.

Women can promote health and prevent disease by taking simple steps to improve their physical, mental, social and spiritual health. The OSDH has designed a prescription for health to remind women about some of the major health concerns they should be monitoring. Copies of tear-off health tips will be available through county health departments, churches and childcare facilities across the state during May.

Some examples of health prevention tips for women follow.

Rx: National Women’s Health Week

Date: Today
From: Oklahoma State Department of Health
Chronic Disease Service and Maternal and Child Health

  • Maintain a normal blood pressure of < 120/80mmHg and total cholesterol of < 200 mg/dL.
  • Do not smoke. If you do, QUIT! Call the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline: 1-866-PITCHEM.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight by having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of <25 kg/m2.
  • Increase your physical activity to at least 30 minutes a day for five or more days a week.
  • Eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
  • Perform monthly self-breast exams, have an annual clinical breast exam, and, if age appropriate, a mammogram.
  • Learn your risk for cervical cancer by having a pelvic exam and a Pap test, if over the age of 21.
  • Prevent skin cancer by wearing sunscreen of 15 SPF+, a hat, and protective clothing.
  • Maintain a HbA1c level less than 7% (indicating good control of blood glucose levels).
  • Find osteoporosis in the earliest stage; have a baseline bone density test by the age of 50.

These activities will help to prevent or decrease your risk of heart attack (#1 leading cause of death for women), cancer (#2 leading cause of death for women), stroke (#3 leading cause of death for women), diabetes and osteoporosis.

Contact the OSDH Chronic Disease Service at 405/271-4072 or your local county health department for more information on these and other important women’s health issues.

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