Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Golden Girls, Health Concerns

On the hit show "The Golden Girls," Betty White, a.k.a. "Rose Nylund" frequently offered pearls of wisdom like "The older you get, the better you get, unless you're a banana." But for real-life golden girls, growing older is not a sitcom, and aging women's health concerns are no laughing matter.

The California Health Interview Survey (CHIS) recently found that 26% of women ages 50-64 report having a health condition that limits their basic physical activities, such as walking, climbing stairs, reaching, lifting or carrying. According to their findings, nearly 6 in 10 women in this age group are either obese or overweight; and the prevalence among them for chronic conditions like high blood pressure hovers around 37%.

Studies also suggest that older women tend to have higher disability rates than men of the same age. According to the Women's Health Initiative, additional health disparities tend to occur among older minority women due to fewer social and medical services. Across the board, research shows that staying active, healthy eating, reducing stress and regular doctor visits can all contribute to the overall health of seniors in general, and older women, specifically.

Aging women comprise a significant percentage of the people the Food Bank serves. As advocates for health and well-being in Yolo County, their concerns are our concerns. Check out our Facebook page (profile: "YoloFoodBank") today for past postings related to senior health concerns, and stay with us throughout the rest of the month of May as we continue to raise awareness about health and safety issues specific to our senior community.

Audiences roared with laughter when Betty White recently hosted Saturday Night Live. In fact, her appearance on the show was one of the most-watched episodes since 2008. After the laughter subsides, it would behoove us all to remember that many aging women face trying and oftentimes difficult, health-related challenges every day, and those golden girls deserve our attention, as well.

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