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Healthy, Happy Women Face Balancing Act

Primary Care Physician Advises Women to Take Small Steps toward Improving Their Health

DAYTON, Ohio (July 2, 2012) – Although running errands, juggling work and managing a household might feel like significant calorie-burners, chances are, these activities alone don’t constitute a healthy lifestyle. 

“Fitness and nutrition are probably the biggest factors to keeping women healthy,” said  Dr. Molly Middleton of  Beavercreek Family Medicine. “These are things that women have the most control over when it comes to their health, yet seem to be some of the hardest things to do.”

Dr. Middleton is encouraging women to find better balance by making health a priority and to start by taking small steps toward lifestyle improvement.

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services National Center for Health Statistics, 64% of women in the U.S. are either overweight or obese.  Carrying too much extra weight can lead to problems in any organ system.  “Classically you think of diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, which all can lead to heart disease, or stroke,” shares Dr. Middleton.  “But, there are less common things people don’t realize can be caused by obesity.  There is an increased risk of certain cancers; such as breast, colon and uterine.  Obesity can lead to lung problems such as sleep apnea, or bone problems such as increased risk to develop arthritis and even the mental health consequences from being overweight.”

In addition to eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise is important to women’s health.  Participating in regular physical activity reduces the risk of chronic disease, helps maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints, reduces body fat and even promotes good mental health as it can reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Dr. Middleton recommends that women exercise 45 minutes per day, four to five days per week with a mix of cardio and strength. She also advises women to gradually build up to that plan.

“Taking on a new diet and exercise regimen can be overwhelming for many,” explained Dr. Middleton. “Women usually have a pretty good idea of the changes that need to be made like drinking more water or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. “I tell my patients to pick one or two things to work on for a week or two. Then pick another one or two things, so it’s a gradual transition and not totally unrealistic.”

Dr. Middleton also noted that following diet and exercise guidelines are not only important for women who are overweight or obese; they’re just as important for women who are a normal, healthy weight.

“Some women who are naturally thin have the misconception that they don’t need to monitor their food intake or exercise,” said Dr. Middleton. “However, ‘normal weight’ doesn’t always equal ‘healthy.’”

Weight loss and exercise guides can be found in the Your Health section of the Premier HealthNet website and include tips for proper nutrition, safe and effective dieting and exercise safety -- from stretching to the benefits of weight lifting.

Primary care physicians can play a key role in helping women reach their health goals by providing counsel before they take on new diet and new exercise regiments. To find a Premier HealthNet primary care physician near you, visit www.premierhealthnet.com/doctor.

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