LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- May 8 marks not only Mother’s Day, but also the start of National Women’s Health Week. In support of National Women’s Health Week, which is coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, Health Net, Inc. (NYSE:HNT) is sharing five steps that women can take to help improve their physical and mental health.
“Women tend to assume the role of caregiver and often put the needs of others ahead of their own,” explains Jonathan Scheff, M.D., chief medical officer for Health Net, Inc. “National Women’s Health Week is an ideal time to remind women regarding the importance of attending to their own needs, particularly those related to preserving their health. It’s fitting,” he adds, “that this year’s theme for National Women’s Health Week is, ‘It’s Your Time.’”
Steps toward better health
Scheff thus suggests that women take the time to review the following steps that are designed to improve their physical as well as mental health, and to lower their risks of certain diseases. These steps – which are recommended by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health – include:
- Engage in physical activity – strive to engage in 30 minutes or more of moderate physical activity most days of the week. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ “Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans,” regular physical activity can lower your risk of: heart disease; stroke; high blood pressure; unhealthy cholesterol levels; type 2 diabetes; colon cancer; breast cancer and depression.
- Eat a nutritious diet – to help prevent heart disease, stroke and potentially other diseases, consume a diet consisting primarily of: fruits; vegetables; grains (particularly whole grains, such as whole wheat, oatmeal and brown rice); fat-free or reduced-fat dairy products; fish; skinless poultry; lean red meats; dry beans; eggs; nuts; polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Additionally, avoid foods that contain: saturated fat; trans fat; cholesterol; sodium and added sugars. If alcohol is consumed, limit consumption to one drink daily.
- Receive regular checkups and preventive screenings – screening tests often can help detect diseases early, which is when they are most treatable. Screening tests are available for numerous conditions, including: breast cancer; cervical cancer; high cholesterol; high blood pressure; colorectal cancer; diabetes; osteoporosis; chlamydia and other sexually transmitted infections; and HIV. For an age-specific list of recommended screenings and immunizations for women, visit http://www.womenshealth.gov/whw/health-resources/screening-tool/index.cfm and then consult with your health-care provider.
- Avoid risky behaviors – while the onset of many medical conditions is beyond our control, avoiding risky behaviors is a proactive step that can be taken to help reduce the potential for negative health outcomes. Topping the list of risky behaviors are smoking, not wearing a seatbelt and having unprotected sex with multiple partners.
- Pay attention to mental health – good mental health is an important component of a woman’s overall health. While all women experience anxiety and sadness at points in their lives, a true mental health disorder impacts a woman’s ability to function normally. If this is the case, it’s essential to seek professional help. Mental health disorders are real medical conditions that can be treated successfully and should never be ignored. Managing stress and getting adequate sleep are key elements in helping to maintain good mental health.
A reminder to moms
Looking ahead to Mother’s Day and National Women’s Health Week, Health Net’s Scheff says, “I encourage everyone to celebrate and honor their mothers by not only giving traditional gifts such as flowers and Sunday brunch, but also by reminding their moms to take time and focus on their own health care needs.”
For more information about National Women’s Health Week, visit http://www.womenshealth.gov/whw/index.cfm.
Medical Advice Disclaimer
The information provided is not intended as medical advice or as a substitute for professional medical care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other health provider for any questions you may have regarding your medical condition and follow your health care provider’s instructions.
About Health Net
Health Net, Inc. is a publicly traded managed care organization that delivers managed health care services through health plans and government-sponsored managed care plans. Its mission is to help people be healthy, secure and comfortable. The company provides health benefits to approximately 6.0 million individuals across the country through group, individual, Medicare (including the Medicare prescription drug benefit commonly referred to as “Part D”), Medicaid, Department of Defense, including TRICARE, and Veterans Affairs programs. Health Net’s behavioral health services subsidiary, Managed Health Network, Inc., provides behavioral health, substance abuse and employee assistance programs to approximately 5.1 million individuals, including Health Net’s own health plan members. The company’s subsidiaries also offer managed health care products related to prescription drugs, and offer managed health care product coordination for multi-region employers and administrative services for medical groups and self-funded benefits programs.
For more information on Health Net, Inc., please visit the company’s website at www.healthnet.com.
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