Pass or Fail? The 2010 Women's Health Report Card

Find out how well American women scored in key areas of health and medicine

Obesity: Fail
The percentage of obese women increased from 24 percent in 2007’s report to 26.4 this year. The condition can increase risk for diabetes, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

Diet: Fail
In another, related measure, women’s health had another failing grade. The 2010 goal was for half of all U.S. women to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, but only 27.7 percent made the mark. Want to start eating healthy in the New Year? Make small but effective improvements to your diet by controlling portions, avoiding foods that trigger over-eating and planning meals in advance.

Physical Activity: Unsatisfactory
We did only slightly better on exercise than on diet, earning an Unsatisfactory for the 26.2 percent of women who don’t engage in some sort of leisure-time physical activity. If you find yourself among the sedentary, start small by doing activities outdoors to save on gym fees and engage in exercise you consider fun.

Mental Health Care
The Report Card found that only five states provide mental health care comparable to the physical care they offer. While you should never hesitate to seek care for a mental health condition, there are measures you can take on your own for lesser complaints, like coping with stress. Try breathing exercises or varying your routine with a tea break.

Binge Drinking: Fail
There was a sharp increase in binge drinking among women, defined as the consumption of four or more drinks on one occasion. The goal is to cap binge drinking at six percent of adults, but 10.6 percent of women currently have this kind of drinking problem. Take this quiz to find out if you drink too much.

Smoking: Unsatisfactory
Smoking is the leading cause of preventative death in the United States and lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths for women. According to the Report Card, 16.8 percent of women smoke, falling short of the benchmark set at 12 percent. Yet 42 states did report reductions in the percentage of women who smoke. Aside from increasing your risk of cancer, smoking can damage your skin and drain your wallet. Secondhand smoke is harmful to your family. The good news is that with mental and physical preparation, it is possible to quit.

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