State health officials this week praised the important role women play in keeping Wisconsin a healthy, strong and safe place to live, but noted that because many women are busy caring for others or forging careers, they may often overlook their own health.
“Women’s Health Week is a time all of us can work to ensure conditions and services are available to help women live better longer,” said Dr. Seth Foldy, State Health Officer. “While women in Wisconsin are generally healthy, some key health disparities exist. Wisconsin is a leader in the percentage of people with health insurance, but poverty is more common among women, and many women of color, young women and low-income women are exposed to health risks or don’t get care to prevent health problems.”
Some health issues that particularly effect women include breast, cervical, uterine and ovarian cancer, depression and other mental health issues, domestic violence, sexual abuse, unintended pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, osteoporosis, arthritis and auto-immune conditions. Increasing tobacco use among women is creating higher rates of lung cancer, and many other diseases. Rates of heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes are increasing and could pose a greater challenge as women age.
“While we encourage women to take charge of their health, men have a role in this too,” said Foldy. “Men can be supportive by doing their part to ensure a safe and healthy environment for our loved ones.”
The Department of Health Services has a number of programs and initiatives that help women and their families:
- Wisconsin Well Woman Program (WWWP) provides health-screening services to women with little or no health insurance coverage.
- Women, Infants and Children (WIC) provides supplemental nutritious foods, nutrition and breastfeeding information, and referral to other health and nutrition services to help mothers and their young children obtain healthy and nutritious foods.
- Food Share is also a supplemental program that helps people with limited money buy the food they need for good health.
- BadgerCare Plus for children and families is a health insurance coverage plan that can provide services for women who are pregnant, children and eligible parents.
- Family Planning Waiver provides family planning and screening for cancers and sexually-transmitted diseases to women and men age 15 through 44, who meet federal income requirements.
For more information on issues affecting women’s health, visit the Women’s Health Web page: http://dhs.wisconsin.gov/womenshealth/