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Celebrate National Women’s Health Week, May 8-14, 2011

Healthy, strong women are essential to building healthy, strong children and communities, but too often women place the needs of others before their own. As a woman, mother, doctor and the new Director of the Office on Women’s Health, I understand how busy we can be and how difficult it is to make time for ourselves and our health. Nevertheless, we need to make our health and wellness a priority. National Women’s Health Week serves as a reminder to do just that and do so with small, manageable steps that will improve our health.

The 12th annual National Women’s Health Week kicks off on Mother’s Day, May 8th and is celebrated until May 14th with local events and activities —everything from 5K walks/runs to free health screenings to health fairs to fashion shows—nationwide. During this week, we encourage women to take the time to: get exercise; eat well; make healthy choices; visit a health care professional; and be mindful of our mental health. Even small steps towards good health can make a difference in our overall health and wellness. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Add just one fruit or vegetable to your diet each day. Chase your children around the yard. Park farther away from the store entrance.

During this year’s National Women’s Health Week, we will observe the 9th annual National Women’s Checkup Day on May 9th. On this day, we encourage women to visit their health care professional for checkups and screenings. Regular checkups are vital to the early detection of diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer as well as infections and other illnesses. Across the country, hundreds of healthcare providers offer preventive screenings at no cost or at a reduced cost. If women aren’t able to visit their healthcare professional on May 9th, we encourage them to take the Checkup Day Pledge and commit to scheduling an appointment this May.

We also recognize the importance of moving our bodies and encourage women to commit to regular exercise—whether dancing, running, and gardening—as part of National Women’s Health Week. 

This year, the Office on Women’s Health is partnering with the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition to support their program, The President’s Challenge—a program that promotes the importance of moving every day and choosing a physical activity that you like so that you will stick with it. It’s easy to sign up for a team, and once registered, you can set your personal activity goals, log your activity, and track your progress online.

Please celebrate National Women’s Health Week with us and together, we can play a role in making health and wellness a priority in our lives.