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Tennessee Department of Health encourages Women to make their own Health a Priority

National Women’s Health Week is May 12th-18th, 2013

Tennessee Department of HealthNashville, TN – It’s your time, ladies! The Tennessee Department of Health joins celebrations of National Women’s Health Week, which kicks off on Mother’s Day, May 12th.

This nationwide initiative calls attention to the importance of women’s health and empowers them to take small, manageable steps for longer, healthier, happier lives.

These steps include visiting a health care professional to receive regular checkups and preventive screenings; getting active; eating healthy; paying attention to mental health needs including managing stress and getting enough sleep; and avoiding unhealthy behaviors such as smoking, not wearing a seatbelt or texting while driving.

“National Women’s Health Week is important because it encourages women to make time for their health,” said TDH Commissioner John J. Dreyzehner, MD, MPH. “Women are often caregivers for others and sometimes forget to make their own health a priority. This is a week to encourage and remind the wonderful women in our lives we need them to take care of themselves too:  get enough sleep, enjoy some physical activity, eat for health and make sure they attend to their own health needs.”

Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death for women in Tennessee. In 2011, 6,771 Tennessee women died from heart disease. The second leading cause of death for women in Tennessee is stroke, followed by lung cancer. Tobacco use is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, cancer, respiratory and other diseases. The Tennessee Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System reported in 2011 that 21.3 percent of Tennessee women 18 years and older were current smokers.

There are simple steps all Tennessee women can take to reduce their risk for heart disease and stroke, as well as other top causes of death such as cancer and diabetes. The Tennessee Tobacco QuitLine is a counseling service available at no charge to all Tennesseans who want to stop tobacco use. Quitting smoking greatly reduces an individual’s risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer. For more information, contact the QuitLine at 1.800.QUIT.NOW, or visit the website http://health.state.tn.us/tobaccoquitline.htm.

TDH also has a Get Fit website designed to empower Tennesseans to reduce their risk of obesity and Type 2 diabetes. Get Fit encourages individuals to start with small changes to improve their eating habits and increase physical activity to improve overall health. The Get Fit website offers a variety of tips and activities, including the Fitness Tracker feature to set goals, monitor progress and challenge others to get fit as well. Learn more at www.getfittn.com.

“The Department of Health offers a variety of services for women across the state including family planning, pregnancy testing and the Breast and Cervical Screening Program,” said Community Health Services Director Leslie Humphreys, MPA. “We want Tennessee women to see us as a resource to help them achieve and maintain their best personal health.”

National Women’s Health Week also includes National Women’s Check-up Day on Monday, May 13th, 2013. All Tennessee women are encouraged to visit their health provider for evaluation on current health status, needed screenings such as mammograms and Pap smears, and suggestions for improving health.

To learn more about TDH women’s health services, visit http://health.state.tn.us/MCH/index.shtml.

For more information on National Women’s Health Week, go to http://health.state.tn.us/MCH/WHW.shtml.

About the Tennessee Department of Health

The mission of the Tennessee Department of Health is to protect, promote and improve the health and prosperity of people in Tennessee. For more information about TDH services and programs, visit http://health.state.tn.us/.


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