Concord, NH – National Women’s Health Week is a week-long health observance celebrated May 12–18, 2013. It is coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office on Women's Health, and brings together communities, businesses, government, and health organizations to promote women's health and its importance. Its goal is to empower women to make their health a priority and encourage them to take the following five steps to improve their physical and mental health and lower their risks of certain diseases:
- Visit a health care professional to receive regular checkups and preventive screenings. The NH Let No Woman Be Overlooked Breast and Cervical Cancer Program promotes education and screening to reduce the mortality rates, through early detection, of breast and cervical cancer among New Hampshire women. The program provides free screenings to women age 21-64 who have no health insurance or have insurance that does not pay for screening tests and with family incomes at or below 250% of poverty guidelines. For more information go to www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdpc/bccp/index.htm.
- Get active. Increased physical activity is one proven strategy to reduce the risk of obesity. For tips on obesity prevention strategies visit www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/nhp/healthyyou.htm.
- Eat healthy. If you are pregnant or have preschool-aged children, you may be eligible for the WIC Nutrition Program. WIC offers nutritious foods, nutrition education, and breastfeeding support for low-income families. Call 1-800-942-4321 or go to www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/nhp/wic/index.htm.
- Get your blood pressure checked. High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. For information on controlling high blood pressure visit www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdpc/hdsp/blood-pressure.htm.
- Get your cholesterol tested—high blood cholesterol increases the risk of heart disease. Cholesterol and blood pressure screenings are efforts that align with the Million Hearts initiative to prevent one million heart attacks and stroke nationally by 2017. For more information on blood cholesterol, visit www.dhhs.nh.gov/dphs/cdpc/hdsp/cholesterol.htm.
- Pay attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and reducing stress.
- Avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, not wearing a seatbelt or bicycle helmet, and texting while driving. The NH Tobacco Helpline offers free confidential quit help to all New Hampshire residents via phone, Internet, and texting. For help with quitting, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669), visit www.TryToStopNH.org, or text CALLME to 22122 (message and data rates may apply).
"At the New Hampshire Division of Public Health Services,” said Dr. José Montero, Director of Public Health the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), “we offer public health programs that are based on scientific evidence to assist all women in improving their present health and decreasing their risk of chronic disease later in life. On May 22, we are holding a daylong conference on Integrated Approaches to Chronic Disease Prevention and Management for health professionals as an important step in this initiative.”
For more information on women’s health services in New Hampshire in honor of Women’s Health Week, go to www.dhhs.nh.gov/foryou/women.htm.