Make health a top priority
The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) celebrated National Women’s Health Week, May 12-19, a week aimed at empowering women to make their health a top priority. It also encourages women to take steps to improve their physical and mental health and lower risks of certain diseases.
DHH encourages the public, state employees and partners to unite and raise awareness about women’s health issues and educate Louisiana women about how they can live healthier lives.
Women make up 51 percent of Louisiana’s population. The 2012 Louisiana Women’s Policy and Research Commission Report to the Governor stated that chronic disease remains one of the largest risks to women’s health.
Chronic disease includes diabetes, heart disease, smoking and obesity. Currently, one in four deaths in Louisiana results from heart disease and the state’s obesity rate continues to rise.
“I challenge women in Louisiana to take a look at unhealthy habits like smoking, overeating and lack of exercise and become knowledgeable of the deadly risk these activities have on their lives,” said DHH Assistant Secretary for the Office of Public Health J.T. Lane. “With lifestyle changes, Louisiana women can be healthier and less susceptible to preventative diseases like heart disease, stroke and diabetes. I also want to challenge their loved ones, friends and families to support them – especially working mothers. Sometimes the biggest barrier to being healthy is time. If a loved one can free up as little as 15 minutes or a half hour on a regular basis for a working mom to go for a run, meditate or lift weights, it may transform an unhealthy future into a healthy one.”
DHH recommends the following tips for staying healthy:
• Visit a health care professional to receive regular checkups and preventive screenings.
• Get active.
• Eat healthy foods.
• Pay attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress.
• Avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, not wearing a seatbelt or bicycle helmet, as well as texting while driving.
DHH programs available for women include the Birth Outcomes Initiative, which aims to educate all Louisiana residents that healthy pregnancies are imperative to a healthy mother and baby. Further, DHH administers the Maternal and Child Health Program, with allows pregnant women, infants and children to gain access to specialized healthcare services; the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program, which ensures pregnant women, infants and children have access to nutritious food; and the state Medicaid program, which provides health care coverage and coordination to eligible pregnant women and children.
“As a woman, staying healthy helps ensure I’m present for the important milestones in my family’s life,” said DHH Interim Secretary Kathy Kliebert. “A commitment to making healthy choices impacts my physical and mental health in the long run. A healthy diet coupled with an active lifestyle allows me to take charge of my well-being and I encourage all Louisiana residents to do the same.”
To learn more, visit http://womenshealth.gov/nwhw/.
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