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Focusing on women’s health

October’s focus is on increasing awareness, education and empowerment

October marks Women’s Health Month, an opportunity to raise awareness, educate and empower women to make their health a top priority. Courtesy graphic

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In support of Women's Health Month, expert medical professionals from the 446th Airlift "Rainier" Wing provide important information to raise awareness, educate and empower women to make their health a top priority.

Women's Health Month is an opportunity to increase awareness about health issues important to women through their lifetime such as heart disease, breast and ovarian cancers, stroke, diabetes, chronic lower respiratory diseases, and obesity.

"It's critical to highlight the importance of recognizing preventable health concerns and encouraging early detection and treatment of disease," said Col. Bruce Neely, 446th Aerospace Medicine Squadron commander. "Women should make sure to get annual exams. If we catch things early, we have a better chance to treat them."

Neely emphasizes focusing on what you can control as part of preventative medicine.

"Preventative medicine is the key, along with taking care of yourself. Focus on what you can control. You can't take out all of the stress in your life, but finding a healthy way to deal with your stress is important for your overall well-being."

One good stress reliever is exercise. Finding time for fitness can be challenging, but Neely tries to make it fun in his squadron.

Neely has a Commander's Fitness Challenge for his squadron members. Anyone who can beat his 1.5-mile run time or Air Force Fit Test score is allowed a 30-minute early release for one unit training assembly. Also, anyone who improves their fit test score by five percent gets to go to the head of the line for end-of-the-day sign-out.

Neely's Commander Fitness Challenge is not easy either. He runs an 11-minute, 47-second mile-and-a-half, and his overall fitness score is 97.5.

"So far, three airmen have beat my run time, one beat my score, and several people improved their own fit test scores. The challenge pushes me, too, because I have to set the example. Plus, it's a lot of fun! I really enjoy seeing my airmen meet their healthy lifestyle goals," said Neely.

While physical fitness is important to leading a healthy lifestyle, it's important to ensure you are focusing on your spiritual fitness as well, says Lt. Col. Pierre Allegre, 446th AW chaplain.

Allegre also shared his message on taking care of one another and being a good friend.

"It's also important to be there for one another, and to check in. Be kinder than you normally would today because everyone is going through some type of hardship or challenge, whether you know about it or not," said Allegre.

It is easy in the fast-past world we all live in to put the needs of our families' and others ahead of our own, which is why this Women's Health Month serves as a reminder for women to put themselves first and make time for their health.

Kristi McCann, 446th AW Psychological Health director explains the importance of taking care of the emotional, mental, physical, and social well-being in order to handle the daily stressors of life.

"By staying mentally fit we handle stress better, relate well to others and make healthy choices. This ensures our ability to bounce back and become stronger."

McCann is offering a new training starting the November UTA featuring Resilience Skills.

"The key to resilience is actually finding balance -- being pulled and challenged, but then recovering in order to continue forward," said McCann. "By using resilience skills, we restore ourselves and sustain our well-being so we can better support our loved ones."

You can enhance your resilience skills by attending the 2019 Lunch and Learn Resilience Series offered during the primary UTA. It will be held each Sunday 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in building 1207, room 143. For additional information you can contact Ms. Kristi McCann at 253.982.5496 or e-mail:

For additional information on important health practices to maintain your health you can visit the Military Health System web page Women's Health.

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