In an effort to provide educational information to the community, Kirk U.S. Army Health Clinic hosted a Women’s Health Fair at the Ortiz Training Center Jan. 25.
The event opened with presentations from several KUSAHC health professionals. January is cervical cancer awareness month, and Dr. Italo Bastianelli, deputy commander of clinical services, discussed the importance of having an annual physical. Cervical cancer affects nearly 250,000 women in the U.S., and 6 out of 10 cervical cancers occur in women who never had a Pap test or haven’t had a Pap test in five years.
Bastianelli advised attendees to make their health a top priority.
“Sometimes we get busy, on our day-to-day activities and sometimes we forget to take care of ourselves,” he said. “It is always important for us to be mindful of our health.”
Women’s nutritional needs
KUSAHC registered dietitian Angela Lang said women have unique nutritional needs.
“As children, boys and girls nutritional needs are nearly identical.” she said. “At puberty the needs begin to change and throughout the rest of a woman’s life they have important vitamin and mineral needs that a balanced diet, including a variety of lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, can meet.”
Bone health, Lang said, should be a priority. Besides cow’s milk, calcium can be consumed from dark green leafy vegetables, beans and fortified products like orange juice and cold cereals.
Nutrition tips for women, according to Lang:
- Limit alcohol, if you do not drink, don’t start.
- Limit sugar
- Add healthy fats to your diet; nuts, salmon, avocado, ground flax seed
- Boost calcium intake
- Include fiber each day
KUSAHC Chief of Behavioral Health Care Services Wendy Witmer discussed depression. Some signs of depression, according to Witmer are changes in sleep, appetite, concentration, energy level and suicidal thoughts.
How to reduce depressive symptoms, according to Witmer:
- Get plenty of rest
- Exercise frequently
- Engage in enjoyable activities
- Be mindful of your diet
- Find a confidant
- If symptoms persist, seek help
Army Wellness Center
Health Educators Meagan Loughnane, and Lowrell Bellard, with the Army Wellness Center, discussed metabolism.
Loughnane and Bellard said many people underestimate how much they eat and overestimate their level of activity. It is recommended that people take at least 10,000 steps a day, and get seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
The AWC offers a variety of services including sleep education, weight management, metabolic testing, nutrition education, wellness coaching, exercise testing, stress management education and body composition analysis. All services are free of charge and open to active-duty service members, family members, retirees and Department of Defense civilians. For more information, call 410-306-1024, or visit https://www.facebook.com/ArmyWellness Center/.
Health professionals also discussed physical therapy, eye health and changes to TRICARE benefits. After the presentations, attendees met with health care providers and received informative handouts on a variety of topics like sleep, tobacco cessation, breast cancer and practicing healthy habits at work.
Army retiree Bridget Sealy said she appreciated that the event was geared towards women.
“I think it is very important because we [women] take care of everybody else,” she said. “We put ourselves on the back burner. If we want to be able to take care of other people, we need to take care of ourselves.”
Rhonda McDonald, with the Network Enterprise Center, said the information obtained during the health fair will help her reach her goals.
“I just want to take this year, 2018, and start making it healthier for myself,” she said. “I want to get back on track with my [medical] appointments.”
Population Health Nurse Tahira Whittington, event organizer, said she hopes attendees learned valuable information during the fair.
“We want to spread awareness across APG,” she said.
Whittington said on Feb. 14, KUSAHC will host a “Heart Health Month” health fair, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
For more information about KUSAHC services and events, visit http://kusahc.narmc.amedd.army.mil.
By Rachel Ponder, APG News