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Introduction to Women's Health

Women's Health explores how women's health issues are created and shaped by interplay of society, biology and personal behavior. Using cutting-edge science and the latest medical knowledge, it offers the most up-to-date information on women's health care issues. It provides an enriching learning experience to every visitor-it is designed not only for women, but for men and families-all of us benefit from understanding women's health. Today, women's health is front-page news. The birth of gender-based health and medicine has had a profound impact on the way Americans, male and female, view health issues. It's time to take an in-depth look at the holistic approach that has emerged in the field of women's health and transformed the way researchers conduct health studies; the way doctors and patients relate to one another; and the way scientists undertake and interpret their research.

Health is presented not as just the absence of disease, but as an active optimization of each individual's potential. New knowledge about women's bodies and minds is changing our understanding of what affects health - a blending of biology, culture and the choices we make. Its time to get organized around the four major factors that intersect again and again over a person's lifetime: risk, prevention, detection, and control.

RISK - Focus on an individual's ability to assess and understand personal risk. Smoking and cardiovascular health are two topics explored here, with a special emphasis on heart disease-the

PREVENTION - A woman's interest in taking charge of her own health is the focus, which examines the trade-off and benefits of preventive behaviors. Osteoporosis is one of the examples used to highlight how habits formed in early adolescence have an impact on later life.

DETECTION - This uses breast health to highlight the range of methods and cutting-edge technologies that help detect various conditions and diseases.

CONTROL - By looking at body image as it relates to health, this section probes complex issues regarding what is normal, healthy and desirable. It also examines the critical elements of self-image, societal pressures and patterns, and personal beliefs about biology and behavior. It also features a resource center where individuals can explore health issues in greater depth through printed materials, video, Internet access and selected activities. This rich and essential component also serves as a distribution point for information about local and community health resources at each venue.