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HEALTH


tive director of HealthyWomen. “From an early age, children tend to eat the same foods as their parents, especially mothers, so exposure to nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables is not only setting a good example, but also positioning your child on a lifelong course of good health.” The sixth annual WomenTALK survey


sought to understand obesity and its impact on women and their families in addition to the influences and relationships that affect obesity in women. The survey of 1,037 women was conducted online by Harris In- teractive to determine women’s level of awareness regarding select research find- ings provided by the STOP Obesity Alli- ance of which HW is a member.


Knowing the Personal Risks of Obesity


The HealthyWomen survey found that


while there is a great understanding among women that obesity leads to an increased


risk in developing secondary health con- ditions such as high blood pressure (93%), type 2 diabetes (89%) and heart disease (88%), less than one-third of women rec- ognize the increased risk of colon cancer (26%), gallstones (30%) and breast cancer (23%). “Women need to be their own advo-


cates in the fight against all of these dis- eases,” says Battaglino Cahill, “and un- derstanding the influence that friends and family have on the likelihood that they will become obese is part of what’s slow- ing them down. We need to help women understand that they have the opportunity to positively wield their influence by tak- ing charge of their own nutrition and physical activity habits.” While a majority of the women sur-


veyed acknowledge other people’s obesity can influence their own likelihood of be- coming obese (80%), only 28% recognize the impact of a friend. In fact, studies show that a person has a much greater


chance (57%) of becoming obese if he or she had a friend who became obese than if he/she had a sibling (40%) or spouse (37%) who became obese. Best-selling author and chief medical correspondent for Discovery Health TV Pamela Peeke, MD, MPH, FACP, says the survey findings bring new light to prior conceptions and emphasize the impor- tance of personal responsibility. “Battling obesity is a matter of making smart deci- sions,” she says. “In understanding the significance that our relationships can have on our lifestyle choices, we see an opportunity for women to play supportive roles in weight loss and best living prac- tices.” A practicing internist and author of


Body for Life for Women, Dr. Peeke advo- cates simple changes like adding whole grains, fruits and vegetables to the diet, in addition to moderate weekly activity, as beginning steps to a healthier lifestyle. “It’s a basic formula of eating less, mak- ing better choices and moving more,” she says.


Call to Action HW has created an online resource


center with tips and tools specific to the WomenTALK survey including BMI and target heart rate calculators, family-friend- ly recipes and exercise videos at www. HealthyWomen.org/womenTALK. In ad- dition to educational content, the site fea- tures advice from Dr. Peeke and motiva- tional articles including a personal perspective from boxer Muhammad Ali’s daughter and obesity advocate Khaliah Ali.


“Empowering and educating women is


the best way we know to break the cycle of obesity and promote healthy habits for the life of any woman and her loved ones,”


says Battaglino Cahill. About the Survey


This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of HealthyWomen from August 24-26, 2010, among 1,037 women ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology please contact dcarlton@healthywomen.org. Source: www.healthywomen.org


70 PROFESSIONAL WOMAN’S MULTICULTURAL MAGAZINE CELEBRATING 10 YEARS OF DIVERSITY WWW.PROFESSIONALWOMANMAG.COM


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