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FOR RELEASE: May 5, 2005
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications
405/271-5601

Public Health Officials Challenge Women to Improve Their Health
Celebrate National Women’s Health Week, May 8-14

The leading causes of disease, disability and death for women can be successfully prevented or treated if caught early, according to public health officials at the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) Chronic Disease Service. The top three causes of death among women in Oklahoma are heart disease, cancer, and stroke.

Women need to place health as their priority so that they can accomplish the many roles of women including wife, mother, daughter, caregiver, businesswoman, and career woman, among others. Women’s Health Week is May 8-14 but all during the month of May, special activities have been planned to focus on women’s health, including the following:

  • W.O.W. Sunbelt Challenge, May 8 - This event is a 12-week virtual walk beginning on Mother’s Day, May 8. The walk involves states within the federal Department of Health and Human Services Region VI, which are Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. For more information or to register, visit this Web site: www.womenshealth.wisc.edu/programs/wow6 .
  • National Women's Checkup Day, May 9 - This is a time to encourage moms, aunts, sisters, spouses, and best friends to schedule an appointment to visit a health care professional to receive preventive services and screenings. Since many of the leading causes of death among women can be successfully prevented or treated if the warning signs are caught early enough, a reminder from loved ones to get a regular health checkup is one of the nicest gifts a woman can receive. Screening tests, such as blood pressure measurements, blood cholesterol test, blood glucose tests, bone densitometry, colonoscopy, mammograms and Pap smears, can find diseases early, when they are easier to treat.

The OSDH Chronic Disease Service recommends the following activities to help women prevent or decrease the risk of heart attack, cancer, stroke, diabetes and osteoporosis:

  • Be Physically Active Every Day - Many chronic diseases can be prevented with modest exercise, in some cases as simple as walking for half an hour daily.
  • Eat a Nutritious Diet - Make simple adjustments to your diet and avoid excessive portions. Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption to five servings daily is a central part of a healthier diet, and good overall nutrition lowers the risk of getting heart disease, stroke, cancer, and osteoporosis.
  • Get Preventive Screenings - Seek regular health screenings, including cholesterol screen, blood pressure measurement, mammogram and Pap test to show your current health status and identify a need to adjust diet or behavior.
  • Do Something Daily That is Fun - Relieve your stress and have fun at the same time.
  • Make Healthy Choices - Avoid tobacco and drugs as well as the abuse and underage use of alcohol and make smart and safe choices in your everyday life.

Additional information on recommended screenings and tests for women can be found on the National Women’s Health Information Center Web page, Tools to Help You Build a Healthier Life at www.4woman.gov/tools/ . The prevention guide, A Lifetime of Good Health: Your Guide to Staying Healthy, can be found at www.4woman.gov/pub/PG.htm or ordered by calling (800) 994-WOMAN (9662).

For more general chronic disease prevention information for women, contact the OSDH Chronic Disease Service at 405/271-4072 or your local county health department.

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