Thursday, Feb. 14 2013 2:46PM
Women’s Health: The unmet needs
By Judy Schmoeger
The United States over all has failed to reach almost every goal set for women’s health, according to a report entitled “Making the Grade on Women’s Health: A National and State-by-State Report Card,” a report published by the National Women’s Law Center and Oregon Health Sciences University.
The report is the fifth in a 10-year look at the status of women’s health in this country. In this latest analysis, a satisfactory rating was given on only three of 26 measures of good health for women.
The three goals that have been met throughout the country are the number of women receiving mammograms, the number of women getting screened for colorectal cancer and the number of women going for annual dental visits. However, an increasing number of women are obese and also suffer from high blood pressure and diabetes.
The results vary state-to-state, so although some goals have been met nationally, individual states may be falling behind. Missouri ranked 41. Thirty-seven states received an unsatisfactory grade, and 12 were given an “F,” including Missouri.
Olveen Carrasquillo, chief of general internal medicine at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, said, “The reductions in the biggest killers of women, cardiovascular disease and some cancers, are probably the biggest victories we have had in health in the last 20 years.” Carrasquillo noted that it is not surprising to see diabetes levels rising as obesity and lack of physical activity increase among women. That also accounts for the increases in blood pressure.
Interesting that researchers have discovered that more than half of Americans (52 percent) think obesity is the nation’s biggest health concern, but almost every American views themselves as “well” (91 percent) or “being in good health” (76 percent). Therefore, most of us do not consider ourselves as part of the problem.
We all need a wake-up call. We need to realize that lifestyle factors are actually life-and-death factors. With over 50 percent of U.S. healthcare costs attributable to chronic disease, we literally cannot afford to continue living as we are. We must take a good look in the mirror and realize that we are a part of the problem and therefore can actually do something about it.
If you haven’t already, start today with a new attitude about your personal lifestyle choices. We can make a difference in our health by making healthy lifestyle choices that include what food we eat and daily moderate exercise. What lifestyle choices will you make to improve your health and the health of your family?