Not many news releases have the ability to give me a chuckle during the work day like this one did when it came across my desk.
As I read through it, questions piled up as high as when I used to make grilled-cheese sandwiches for dinner (explaining to the children how much fun this special dinner was, and not that I was preparing the easiest thing I could muster because my feet were on fire and I wanted to collapse).
In honor of the 13th observance of the weeklong National Women’s Health Week, which kicked off Sunday, the Washoe County Health District and the national campaign wanted to encourage women everywhere to “make their health a top priority, and take simple steps for longer, healthier, and happier lives.”
If it were only that easy!
During this week only, women should think about getting regular checkups and preventative screenings, get active, eat healthy, get enough sleep, manage stress and avoid unhealthy behaviors such as smoking.
First, according to the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention, somewhere between 22 and 30 percent of women between the ages of 18 and 44 have no health coverage. Getting regular checkups and preventive screenings would be difficult for these folks, if not impossible. It would be safe to say that these activities would be close to the bottom of the list for them.
Secondly, staying active for women today includes rushing to the nearest coffee drive-through fast enough to get to work before the boss notices the time. That is, if the woman has a job in the first place and isn’t on unemployment.
Another activity is rushing through the aisles of the nearest market to grab the easiest meal to create for dinner, snacks for the kids and maybe a bottle of wine for after dinner. This exercise also entails finding the ATM card that has gone missing in her purse, which burns about 190 calories and creates copious amounts of stress and anxiety, eventually finding it before the next person in line begins to grumble, and then swiping it with the hope that the bank won’t reject the bill.
Another activity, which I find burns adequate amounts of calories, is getting dressed in the morning. Some days, when the stars align and the world is turning on its axis in perfect formation, I know exactly what to wear and where to find the items. Other mornings, I fail to remember where I’ve placed the shirt/pants/skirt or shoes I am looking for and end up changing 13 times, only to find out that I look like a manatee. The process begins again.
Yes, there are those women who have done things right in their lives, married men with money or have earned money themselves, and are perfect in every way. They attend yoga, pilates, bike, hike and ski and can dig to China in four-inch heels while not breaking a nail. Good for them, I say.
Now, we get to the “eating healthy” suggestion. We live in America — the fattest nation on the planet. This is like suggesting “Walk on your tiptoes for 10 hours and then learn to speak Russian in five minutes.” Some things are just not possible.
Every commercial on television reminds us that if we must try the triple bacon burger with melted nacho cheese, or the endless rib combo with a side of fries, a milkshake and double-fudge sundae.
Eating healthily is as difficult in the United States as swimming into a tsunami.
Then, they are suggesting we “get enough sleep”? I don’t know if they realize this, but they are talking about “mothers” here. Don’t they know that if mothers aren’t waking up to calm one child down from a nightmare, finishing a science project at 3 a.m., cleaning up a child’s sickness from the carpet at 2 a.m. or doing 43 loads of laundry on a Sunday, sleep and managing stress are something mothers do when the last child is packed and moving from the house.
I agree that women should avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, but I noticed they didn’t mention gulping down a few glasses of wine now and then.
Apparently, there is a National Men’s Health Week. This year, the group is calling for all men to “Wear Blue” for a day to encourage awareness about men’s health. They also suggest holding an educational event or presentation about men’s health at the workplace or community center or plan a men’s health fair and cover topics such as heart health, injury prevention, prostate cancer, unintentional injuries, testicular cancer and respiratory diseases.
It didn’t mention anything about exercise, eating healthily or getting more sleep.
For those of you who would like to know more about National Women’s Health Week, visit www.GetHealtyWashoe.com, or call 800-994-9662.
Jill Lufrano is a reporter at the Sparks Tribune. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.