Women's health makes strides with government, PR backing

National Women's Check-up Day, Monday, May 15, is part of National Women's Health Week, which begins on Mother's Day, May 14. Hospitals, health centers, and other healthcare providers will participate in Check-up Day by offering preventive health screenings to women.

National Women's Check-up Day, Monday, May 15, is part of National Women's Health Week, which begins on Mother's Day, May 14. Hospitals, health centers, and other healthcare providers will participate in Check-up Day by offering preventive health screenings to women.

The national effort by the US Department of Health and Human Services emphasizes the importance of regular check-ups and exams. Heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes are the top killers of American women and can be prevented if the warning signs are detected early enough. Regular check-ups can contribute to a healthy lifestyle, along with exercise, healthy eating, and not smoking. Locations for screenings are listed on the National Women's Health Web site, www.womenshealth.gov.

Why does it matter?

Over the past century, women have made great strides. They have earned the right to vote, have held Supreme Court seats, and now the rest of the world cares about their health.
"If you look back over the past 15 years, PR, along with disease awareness and education, has made an enormous impact in terms of advancing women's healthcare," says Kym White, MD of Ogilvy's New York office. "I think it really started with breast-cancer activism and the pink ribbon. It certainly has changed and evolved to the red-dress era, when we think about heart disease being the leading killer of women."

White also acknowledges that healthcare isn't just about men anymore; she says people have realized that the same health studies can't be done for both men and women.


Five facts:

1 Self  sponsored its Workout in the Park on May 7 in Central Park. The day included a workout with Crunch fitness, and pamphlets were provided to educate women about health issues, along with product samples and sweepstakes prizes.

2 The National Women's Health Week Web site provides materials for volunteers to start their own campaigns in their communities, including a sample radio PSA, fact sheets, and sample articles for newsletters and e-mails.

3 HHS' Office of Women's Health has launched a campaign to coincide with National Women's Health Week called WOMAN Challenge, an eight-week challenge to get women physically active.

4 The "Go Red for Women" campaign created by the American Heart Association has boosted awareness about the number one killer of women - heart disease - through efforts at Fashion Week in February and public outreach.

5 Last year, National Women's Health Week received coverage in more than 250 newspapers and magazines, as well as a spot on CBS' The Early Show  for the third year in a row.

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