Every day, service members are reminded of the importance of readiness.
Readiness is essential to the success of the force, and it is one way to ensure that every service member is fit to fight at all times. Maintaining technical and tactical proficiency is critical to readiness, but without good health, service members are incapable of functioning at the level necessary to succeed in their profession. Health screenings help them to prevent illness and to stay in good health.
May 11-17 is National Women’s Health Week. While male and female service members share some basic health requirements for readiness, female service members require health screenings that are unique to the health of women. These requirements include cervical cancer screenings, also known as the Pap smear or Pap test, and breast cancer screenings. These tests provide women with the opportunity to detect diseases, such as cancer, in the early stages, often before symptoms occur. By making sure that routine cervical cancer screenings are completed, women can help increase the likelihood that abnormal findings are detected and treated early.
A breast cancer screening is another way to detect cancer promptly to ensure that breast cancer is detected in the early stages. Like most cancers, breast cancer is easiest to treat when is detected early, and early detection improves the chances that this cancer can be diagnosed at an early stage and treated successfully.
In addition to these health screenings, female service members should also consider the three critical components of personal health when working to enhance their readiness. These components are sleep management, activity and nutrition.
Although these are basic actions that are sometimes taken for granted, they are essential to readiness. Routine physical activity will not only improve readiness but it can also reduce stress, strengthen the heart and lungs, increase energy levels, and improve mood. Quality nutrition and sleep management are equally important as they promote overall health, help prevent disease and achieve or maintain a healthy body weight. When these critical components are missing, female service members are at an increased risk for stroke, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity. We think better, feel better and perform better when our bodies are well nourished, well rested and healthy.
The Army surgeon general, a woman, has developed the Performance Triad to educate not just female Soldiers, but all Soldiers and retirees, their family members, and Army civilians about how quality sleep, activity and improved nutrition can help us all reach our full potential.
More information about women’s health and health screening is available on the U.S. Army Public Health Command’s Women’s Health Portal at http://phc.amedd.army.mil. For information about the Performance Triad visit http://phc.amedd.army.mil.