3 Ways Women Can Work Toward Better Health

Much research has been done over the years about the contrasts between how women and men approach health care and self- care. Women are 33% more likely to see a doctor, according to the Centers for Disease Control and are a full 100% better at sticking with health screening and preventive care routines.

by Dr. Hojat Askari, Founder and Medical Director, Thumb Butte Medical Center

Many women are doing a good job of taking care of themselves. But there are some areas in which they need to be extra vigilant, either because they face higher risks or are less likely to participate in a healthy behavior:

BONE HEALTH
Women are four times more likely to be diagnosed with osteoporosis after age 50 than men. They can work to prevent this by ensuring they consume calcium through dairy products, dark leafy green vegetables, canned salmon or tuna or fortified products including some plant milks, cereals and grains.

Vitamin D, the other critical nutrient for bone health, is best absorbed from sunlight or select foods including oily fish or fortified milk. In some cases, supplements of one or both may be recommended.

STRENGTH TRAINING
Most research reports women to be less active than men, and the gender gap can become a chasm without strength training. Women have the most to gain from it, since it promotes higher bone density as well as builds muscle and burns fat.

Find out which type of strengthening exercise you enjoy enough to do at least twice a week. You can use weights, resistance bands or a combination, but be sure to ratchet up the intensity as you progress.

CAUTION WITH ALCOHOL
The CDC says women have a higher risk of liver and heart disease and cognitive difficulties from drinking smaller amounts of alcohol than men do. 

As a result, women should maintain awareness of how much they are drinking and to push back against the urge to order that second drink, looking for healthier and more refreshing alternatives. 

The CDC’s current recommendation is for women to limit themselves to one drink or less per day.