National Women’s Health Week takes place from Sunday to May 18 with Monday designated as National Women’s Health Day.
Locally, Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and Ramstein health clinics will have an information table set up in the Kaiserslautern Military Community Center from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, with copies of the preventive screening list and ideas and resources for meeting the other goals for an active, healthy and safe lifestyle.
There will also be a list of the 22 covered preventive services for women, including pregnant women, under the new Affordable Care Act. All of these handouts and information will also be available in the LRMC Family Practice Clinic, Women’s Care Clinic, OB/GYN Clinic, and Ramstein Family Practice Clinic during Women’s Health Week.
The weeklong celebration is designed to empower women to make their health a priority and encourage them to take the following steps to improve their physical and mental health and lower their risks of certain diseases:
Preventive screenings: Cholesterol checks, mammograms, annual women’s health exams, etc. A list of recommended screenings is available at http://womenshealth.gov/nwhw.
Get active: There are lots of opportunities in Germany with weekly volksmarches and all the fitness support on military installations, including yoga, spin and Zumba.
There is something for everyone. Also, both Ramstein (HAWC, 06371-47-4292) and LRMC (wellness center, 06371-86-8614/8618) have free evaluation programs to chart your starting point on a healthy lifestyle and give you some direction for your journey to fitness.
Eat healthy: Eat healthy the “My Plate” way at www.choosemyplate.gov. My Plate is an easy, visual guide to healthy eating. Helping us in Europe is wonderfully fresh fruit and vegetables from local farmers markets.
Pay attention: Pay attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress. The website www.learningmeditation.com is just one place online where you can find great ideas for relaxation exercises.
Avoid unhealthy behaviors: Avoid smoking, not wearing a seatbelt or bicycle helmet, and texting while driving. It just makes sense.
The National Women’s Health Week website at http://womenshealth.gov/nwhw has a helpful list of the 11 screening tests that are recommended, including blood pressure checks, diabetes screening and breast cancer screening, plus the newest recommendations for Pap smear frequency.
Eight of the recommendations can be done by your primary care provider, and three require referrals. This celebration week is an opportunity to commit to taking care of ourselves and the women we love.
This year’s website has a link to a letter from first lady Michelle Obama discussing her approach to healthy living.
“That’s what being fit meant to me: feeling good inside and out and taking control of my health,” the letter states.
It’s not your clothes size or how everyone else looks; it’s how you feel and what you can do while enjoying the opportunities around you.
(Courtesy of Landstuhl Regional Medical Center Public Affairs)