Did you know that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in celebrating National Woman's Health Week? The week of May 9th to 15th was dedicated to empowering women to make their health a top priority. In honor of this, I would like to remind women that breastfeeding is a health preventative behavior that reaps benefits for a lifetime. Avoiding or abandoning breastfeeding increases a woman's risk of developing premenopausal breast cancer, ovarian cancer, type II diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), hyperlipidemia, and cardiovascular disease.
The decision to breastfeed greatly promotes good public health behavior that benefits not only infants but also their mothers. During National Women's Health Week, communities, businesses, government, health organizations, and other groups work together to educate women about steps they can take to improve their physical and mental health as well as lower their risks of certain diseases. Women are often the caregivers for their spouses, children, and even their own elderly parents that they forget to focus on their own health. But research shows that when women take care of themselves, the health of their family improves.
Healthcare providers are urged to remind the childbearing population of women that they work with of the importance of breastfeeding as a method of reducing diseases and conditions that can rob them and their family of a healthy mother. Heart disease, for instance, is the number one killer of women in the U.S. Epidemiological data suggests that women who do not breastfeed or wean too early face a higher risk of disease and early death.
We should celebrate National Woman's Health week by wishing all moms a Happy and Healthy Mother's Day, every day.