Why Just a Week?

National Women’s Health Week is May 9-15 and womenshealth.gov has dedicated several web pages to promoting this annual event (this is the 11th year). Here’s my question: why should we — and the government — only place an emphasis on women’s health one week out of 52?

Don’t get me wrong — I understand from a marketing perspective what having a “week” or “month” dedicated to a specific issue is supposed to accomplish. It gets people to pay closer attention, and it generates media coverage, which in turn, gets people to pay even closer attention.

But shouldn’t women (and men) be paying close attention to their health every week?

Yeah, I know, work, family, social life, volunteer activities… it’s hard to juggle it all and still find time to eat a healthy diet, exercise, de-stress, and get enough sleep. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t at least try. I’m a parent, I work, I volunteer with several local organizations. And sure, I’ve been known to order take out or grab a pizza on occasion. The point is, though, not to make it a way of life.

We have an obligation to our families, our friends, our colleagues, and most importantly, to ourselves to make the effort. That means regular checkups at the doctor, annual mammograms for those of a certain age, drinking plenty of water, hitting the gym, skipping the chocolate cake (at least most of the time), getting to bed at a decent hour, and changing our mindset to one of fostering wellness.

There are surely going to be times you just have to do that drive-through at Mickey D’s or stay up too late to finish a project – that’s why the rest of the time, you need to “bank” healthy habits to get you through those tough days.  By all means, celebrate the Women’s Health Week in May — just don’t stop thinking about it the other 51 weeks of the year.

For more information about National Women’s Health Week go to: Women’shealth.gov

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