AP Photo/ Jessica Hill
1. Miranda Hitti - senior medical writer for WebMD - reported that "in 2004, life expectancy for U.S. women was 5.2 years longer than men." Although women may have a longer life expectancy, they are not out of the woods yet. According to research conducted by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the leading cause of death for females in America in 2006 was heart disease; cancer was second. Stroke was third, and diabetes was seventh. The good news is that women can lower their risk of developing these diseases by taking some proactive measures:
- Eat nutritious foods in the proper amounts. MyPyramid.gov offers individualized eating plans and interactive resources that can help women identify healthy food options.
- Lead a more active lifestyle by getting plenty of exercise.
- Maintain a healthy body weight. Calculating your Body Mass Index (BMI) is a good way to determine your healthy weight range. A BMI calculator can be found on WebMD.
- Get regular medical checkups and health screenings. WebMD has an interactive tool that can help you determine which health screenings you need according to your age and gender.
- Don't smoke because smoking increases one's risk for several diseases. WedMD also offers a Smoking Cessation Health Center. It's houses a plethora of info on the subject.
- Although easier said than done, keep stress low. The comprehensive site - WebMD - offers a Stress Management Health Center, as well.
2. Women, especially those of childbearing age, need folate a/k/a folic acid. During pregnancy, it can help prevent miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight, and certain birth defects like spina bifida. Some studies suggest that folic acid could help lower one's risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and stroke. Beans, peas, lentils, leafy green veggies, lemons, melons, bananas, nuts, sunflower seeds, oranges, tomatoes, and pineapples are rich in folic acid. AP Photo/ Rebecca Blackwell
3. 1 out of every 4 women will be a victim of domestic violence at some point in her life, according to stats provided by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Unfortunately, many cases of domestic violence are never reported to authorities. Peg Hacskaylo - a battered women's advocate - reported that there's been "no recession AP Photo/ Ria Novosti for domestic violence." As a result of the stress associated with the economic downturn, domestic violence has surged. For victims looking to escape, please contact the United Way's 211 hotline, YWCA, and/or the City Action Partnership (CAP) for assistance and/or resource referrals.
4. Women need one another's friendship. Medical writer Tom Valeo believes "in general, women are better at maintaining friendships than men...[because] women's friendships tend to have a more emotional content - listening to friends' stories and coming up with helpful solutions." Research indicates that friendships can generally help prolong a person's life by lowering stress levels, increasing happiness, and discouraging destructive behaviors like drunk driving, smoking, overeating, suicide, and etc. They can also offer much needed encouragement.
AP Photo/ TPNW
Hitti, Miranda. (2006, May 11). Why Do Women Live Longer Than Men? retrieved from women.webmd.com/news/20060511/why-women-live-longer
Katz, Marisa. (2009, May 8). No Recession for Domestic Violence. retrieved from voices.washingtonpost.com/local-opinions/2009/05/no_recession_for_domestic_viol.html
Valeo, Tom. (2007, January). Good Friends Are Good For You. retrieved from www.webmd.com/balance/features/good-friends-are-good-for-you