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Health & Wellness Spotlights

Holistic care

Health equity

Women's health is whole person health

Rachel Caplin

February 12, 2024

3

When we talk about women's health, the conversation often defaults to topics like reproductive care, pregnancy, and childbirth. Indeed, these are pivotal aspects of health care for many women, but they represent only a fraction of the overall health picture. According to the McKinsey Health Institute, just 5% of the health burden women face relates to sexual, reproductive, and maternal health. This statistic reveals a significant gap in how we perceive and address women's health—a gap we have the opportunity to bridge.

Women's Health Month offers an ideal platform to broaden our understanding and approach to women's health care. It's an opportune time to emphasize a holistic health benefits strategy that goes beyond the traditional focus areas. Women's health is comprehensive and multifaceted, encompassing a wide range of needs that affect women uniquely. Here are some of the critical areas where expanded benefits can make a substantial difference:

  • Nutrition and Fitness: Proper nutrition and regular fitness are foundational to good health, affecting everything from weight management to chronic disease prevention. Tailored programs can address specific nutritional needs and fitness preferences among women.
  • Sleep Quality: Women face unique challenges in sleep, often exacerbated by hormonal changes, pregnancy, or menopause. Addressing sleep is crucial for overall health and well-being.
  • Family-forming Support: Beyond traditional fertility treatments, family-forming support can include adoption assistance, surrogacy support, and resources for LGBTQ+ families.
  • Autoimmune Diseases: Women are disproportionately affected by autoimmune diseases. Early screening and ongoing management can help mitigate these conditions.
  • Aging and Cardiac Care: As women age, their risk for heart diseases increases, especially after menopause. Proactive cardiac care is essential.
  • Mental Health Services: Women are more likely to experience anxiety and depression. Comprehensive mental health benefits are critical in supporting their overall well-being.
  • Sexual Health and Caregiving Support: Addressing sexual health openly and providing support for caregivers, who are predominantly women, are vital aspects of comprehensive care.
  • Skin Care and Menopause Management: These areas often receive less attention but are significant concerns for many women as they age.
  • Genetic Testing and Primary Care: Access to genetic testing can guide personalized health strategies, while robust primary care services ensure ongoing health monitoring and prevention.

Recognizing and addressing the full spectrum of women's health through comprehensive strategies not only fills existing gaps but also elevates the standard of care. Every element, from cardiac care to mental health, and from nutrition to genetic testing, contributes to the complex mosaic of women’s health. Women's Health Month reminds us that 'whole-person health' means looking beyond the 5% and ensuring that our health systems, policies, and practices reflect the diverse needs of women at every stage of life.

This broader approach not only supports healthier women but also fosters a healthier society by ensuring that half the population receives care that truly matches their needs. The path to improved women's health is comprehensive, inclusive, and, most importantly, essential. This is what women's health looks like, and this is how we honor it.

Health & Wellness Spotlights

Holistic care

Health equity

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