Women make up more than half of the US population, but it is only recently that their political, economic, and health situations have been closely examined. Historically, women's health had always been perceived in the context of reproduction, i.e. a woman's role in producing and rearing children. With this increased concern about women's health has come a shift in the perception of the field to encompass other aspects of a woman's life above and beyond her child-bearing years. As the field of women's health care continues to be re-examined and re-defined, it is important to consider women from different perspectives that recognize women's multiple roles in society and eliminate the long-standing dichotomy between reproductive and non-reproductive health.
First off, it is crucial to approach women's health from a holistic perspective. The multiple influences of biological, psychological, and social factors on women's health should always be addressed, and health care should embrace a wellness approach, rather than being problem-focused.
Income and insurance status are primary determinants of not only the health of women, but also the amount and quality of health care that they receive. Low income and minority women have fewer mammograms than other women, which can be a huge factor in the prevention of breast cancer. Approximately 185,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed among US women every year, and about 45,000 women die from this disease. There needs to be some form of intervention to increase access to mammography for poor and minority women in order for these numbers to decrease.
Women's health should also be approached from a lifespan outlook that recognizes that women have different health needs as they encounter transitions across their lives. While pregnancy is definitely an important event in the life of a woman, this
should not be the sole focus...