Mother’s Day has seemingly shifted from a Hallmark event, to something much more meaningful in promoting women’s health. The annual Mother’s Day Classic has raised over $37 million for breast cancer research, generating awareness about early detection screening and supporting families impacted by a disease confronting one in seven women. The research investment is making a difference too, with 5-year survival rates rising from 76 to 91% since 1994. Early detection is key and women in the target 50-74 age range are urged to conduct free BreastScreen mammograms every two years.
Roughly 70% of cervical cancers are found in women under 60, however the commonality is a lack of cervical screening. Women aged 25 to 74 should be vigilant in having the Cervical Screening Test, which need only occur once every 5 years, replacing the old two-yearly Pap test.
Osteoporosis is 4x more likely in women over 50 than men. Women who have gone through menopause, should consume more calcium (milk, dark leafy greens like kale) and vitamin D (eggs, fatty fish) whilst doing weight bearing exercise such as jogging, walking, tennis or dancing. All of this is to fight a decline in bone density that occurs when the body stops naturally producing estrogen. Avoiding smoking and drinking alcohol excessively will also aid this fight.
A range of other routine lifestyle factors make a real contribution to our health. It may not surprise to hear that the key is balance. Enjoy life without counting calories but be aware that what you consume impacts your energy and mood. Try to eat nutrient rich foods such as meat, chicken, fish and eggs. Aim for three serves of dairy foods and two serves of fruit daily, whilst eating vegetables or salad with lunch and dinner. Carbohydrates like bread, rice, pasta and potatoes are a good energy source once a day. And even if you love your alone time, our mental health depends on an active and vibrant social life. Develop some indoor and outdoor hobbies to get you out of bed, even if the sky is grey and your energy feels low.