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Women Don't Make Time For Their Health

Because of my concerns with this fast-everything culture in which we live, I wasn't surprised to learn women place a much greater priority on the health of their family at the expense of their own, according to a new survey of some 1,000 women by the National Women's Health Resource Center.

There's a good reason for that: 71 percent make the primary decisions about health care decisions, namely who and when and where. In spite of that knowledge, however, few women were able to make large-scale or permanent lifestyle changes to improve their health.

  • Although women acknowledge stress plays a significant role in their health, only half of them actually reduced stress in their lives over the past year.
  • Women may be exercising more often and retooling their diets than ever, but few of them have reached their weight goals.
  • Eating a better diet, dropping excess weight, being physically active and sidestepping chronic disease were beaten out by having a healthy family.

Perhaps, the worrisome statistics of them all: When asked to list their highest priorities, only 40 percent of women believed having enough free time to improve their quality of life was very important.

Stress -- partly as a result of having so little free time -- is a concept I understand all too well, with balancing my time between my medical practice and this Web site. That's why I place such a high priority on maintaining a positive attitude. Over the years, I've found stress to be a serious factor in the illnesses of nearly every patient I see. Stress can also pose major problems for your immune system, and it can have a negative impact on many variables that affect your overall health, including blood pressure, cholesterol and hormonal balance.

Since you cannot eliminate stress entirely, you can work to provide your body with some safe and proven tools to compensate for it. Remember, the key is not getting rid of the stress itself but adjusting your body's ability to tolerate it. Here's three options that will make a difference:

National Women's Health Resource Center May 4, 2005 Free Full-Text Article

Los Angeles Times May 9, 2005

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