We get it. You’re busy managing your household and taking care of everyone else. Between kids’ afterschool sports, a hectic career and household duties, who has time to see their physician? It seems so much easier to rely on “Doctor Google” for a quick diagnosis.

Survey: Women don’t make health a priority

The bottom line: the majority of women say “they do not make their own health a priority”, according to a recent survey. The data, which was collected in collaboration by REDBOOK magazine, the HealthiHer Movement and HealthyWomen.org, further revealed the following:

  • Most women are content with how they manage their family’s health
  • 70 per cent of women believe they handle their children’s health “very well”
  • Only 66 per cent of women feel somewhat in control of their own health

Although many women do not prioritize their own health when it comes to regular check-ups and screenings, 79 per cent believe they have the power to change.

Lack of time is often blamed for missed/unscheduled appointments among women. According to the survey, they say they are “overwhelmed”, with nearly 40 per cent suffering from anxiety and/or depression disorders.

To make matters worse, many females rely on Internet or app-based symptom checkers or “doctor google” to make sense of what may be going on with their health.

According to a study conducted by Harvard University in 2016 (published in JAMA Internal Medicine), this is not the right approach. In fact, it could be dangerous and misleading. The research showed that a physician’s diagnosis is more than twice as accurate than any type of Internet-based app. This study was the first direct comparison between human-made and computer-based diagnoses.

HealthiHer: A Movement for Change

Recognizing that this was becoming an issue, The HealthiHer Movement was created as a way to empower women to take control of their health and make it a priority.

“It isn’t selfish to put ourselves first, but in all honesty, we know that will never happen—our kids will always come first,” says HealthyWomen CEO Beth Battaglino.

“But perhaps we can we shoot for second. This is an investment in both our health and the health of our families. Women who don’t take care of themselves are not going to be around and/or it will affect their ability to care for their loved ones. This survey revealed that those who don’t make time to get their health screenings, like mammograms, pap tests, eye exams, blood pressure, etc., actually had more health concerns.”

Joan Lunden, a women’s health advocate, breast cancer survivor, author and special contributor to the TODAY Show, says she stands by the cause.

“As women, we’re selfless when it comes to taking care of our families and those around us. But far too often with our hectic schedules, we let our own health take a back seat,” she says.

“It is critical that women prioritize their own health to protect their lives and their longevity. I am proud to be part of the HealthiHer Movement to make a new commitment to my health and to encourage other women to do the same.”

Text Message Reminders

Another possible solution is to improve the communication between health care practitioners and their patients. A study conducted by the British Journal of Cancer in 2015 showed that women who received a text message reminding them about their breast cancer screening appointment were 20 per cent more likely to attend than those who were not texted.

If you would like to learn more about the HealthiHer movement, visit the website at at healthywomen.org/healthiher and join the Facebook discussions at https://www.facebook.com/BeHealthiHER/.

Also, you can participate by posting a photo of your moment of self-care on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #BeHealthiHer.

Not sure which health screenings you should have each year? Click here.

At Dumbbells & High Heels, we recognize that life gets busy. However, we also know that when we take care of ourselves first, we can do so much more for others. To get on track, we’re providing a link to our complimentary 7-Day Health and Fitness Challenge .

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