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This October Western Health Advantage is proud to participate in National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer is the second most common kind of cancer in women. About 1 in 8 women born today in the United States will get breast cancer at some point.

The good news is that many women can survive breast cancer if it’s found and treated early. A screening mammogram is an X-ray of the breast used to detect breast changes in women who have no signs or symptoms of breast cancer. Screening mammograms are covered for women over age 40 under most health plans.

  • If you are a woman under age 40 who is at higher-than-average risk of breast cancer – for example, if a close family member of yours had breast or ovarian cancer – ask your doctor how often a mammogram is recommended.
  •  If you are a woman age 40 to 49, talk with your doctor about when to start getting mammograms and how often to get them
  •  If are a woman age 50 to 74, be sure to get a mammogram every two years. You may also choose to get them more often.

Join WHA at Making Strides of Sacramento

WHA supports efforts to prevent and treat breast cancer in part by being a Silver Sponsor of the American Cancer Society’s “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Sacramento” 5K walk on Sunday, October 22, 2017. The non-competitive walk starts at 8:00 a.m. at the west steps of the State Capitol. Join us for this celebration of survivorship! You can sign up here.

Attention WHA members:

To show our appreciation for completing your mammogram, your name can be entered for a drawing to win a $100 gift card when proof of your exam is verified.

For more information about breast cancer and the drawing, visit MyWHA.

Stand Up to Bullying

stop bullying

This month is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month, a time when the world comes together to raise awareness for bullying prevention.

One child or a group of kids repeatedly picking on or shaming another child—whether physically or verbally—is unfortunately nothing new. What is new is the magnification of bullying’s power to hurt thanks to the widespread use of social media among young people. Such behavior can lead to anxiety, depression, skipping school and even violent acts of retaliation.

This year’s Bullying Prevention Awareness Month marks the 10th anniversary of its initiation by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center. Since 2006, the event has grown to an entire month of education and awareness activities, and is being recognized by schools and communities throughout the world.

The good news is that schools are increasingly responding to the issue. Experts also recommend the following positive steps parents can take to quell bullying.

If Your Child Is Being Bullied

  • Remind them that it’s not their fault and that no one deserves to be picked on.
  • Teach kids to respond by remaining calm, letting the bully know of their disapproval and walking away.
  • Enlist the help of school officials to put an end to the behavior and to make sure your child is safe.
  • Monitor your child’s social media interactions and texting to be aware of any problems.

If Your Child Is Acting as a Bully

  • Make it clear that bullying is never acceptable.
  • Respond decisively with consequences, such as a loss of privileges.
  • Work with school staff and the parents of the bullied child to come up with solutions.
  • Be a positive role model by treating others with respect. Often, kids who are bullied at home turn out to be bullies at school.

If Your Child Witnesses Bullying

  • Encourage kids to tell a trusted adult if they see someone being bullied.
  • Teach them not to laugh, encourage the bully or become an audience for the behavior.
  • Help them befriend the victim and include him or her in social activities.

For more information go to stopbullying.gov

Join Western Health Advantage for the Dignity Health Women’s Event, Sacramento’s premier annual health and lifestyle event just for women. The inspiring event is held on Thursday, October 5, 2017 from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Sheraton Grand Sacramento (1230 J Street).

  • Learn how to get the most from your health plan partnership.
  • Hear from a panel of experts about common trends and topics in women’s health, heart care, preventive health and more.
  • Treat yourself to tempting hors d’oeuvres and beverages.
  • Gain inspiration from keynote speaker Renee Rongen, a master storyteller and comedian.
  • Wrap up the evening with a marketplace expo full of items from local vendors.

For nearly 10 years, women have experienced Dignity Health’s annual Care Begins With Me event in a shared passion for health and wellness. This fall’s event will take on a new dimension as health plans – including Western Health Advantage – have partnered with Dignity Health to bring you the latest in health care trends.

Register at DignityHealth.org/WomensEvent. Bring your friends! Grab the always-popular swag bags! We look forward to seeing you there!

woman in therapy

While Western Health Advantage recognizes October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we also recognize that domestic violence is not restricted to a single month. WHA encourages our members to educate themselves during the month and to take action throughout the year. Here are some ways each of us can take action to ending domestic violence in our community:

  • Educate yourself. WEAVE (Women Escaping a Violent Environment) is Sacramento County’s primary provider of services to survivors of domestic violence and maintains extensive information on its website. If you live in a different county, go to The California Partnership to End Domestic Violence’s website to find the domestic violence agency in your community and learn more about their programs and services.
  • Support WEAVE or the domestic violence agency in your community. To provide comprehensive services to victims of domestic violence, agencies rely on community support.
  • Domestic violence agencies depend on committed volunteers to answer crisis line calls, assist with events, and to educate the community.
  • Host a drive for needed items. Domestic violence shelters are in constant need of food, household supplies, toiletries, and other essentials. You can find WEAVE’s Wish List on their website or contact the agency in your community to learn about their most pressing needs.
  • Stop violence when you see it. If you suspect a friend, family member, neighbor or co-worker may be experiencing domestic violence, let them know you are worried and share information about resources to help them.

 

Domestic Violence Facts

  • One in four women and one in seven men will experience severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetimes. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
  • On average, more than three women are murdered every day by a current or former partner in the United States. (American Psychological Association)
  • 74% of all murder-suicides involved a current or former intimate partner. Of these, 96% were women killed by a current or former partner. (American Psychological Association)
  • 4,774,000 women in the United States experience physical violence each year. (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

WEAVE
Between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017, WEAVE provided these domestic violence services:

  • Answered 10,435 calls to the Support & Information Line.
  • Provided 14,160 bed nights of emergency shelter and 5,606 bed nights of transitional shelter to victims of domestic violence.
  • Provided legal advocacy and assistance to 881 victims of domestic violence and limited scope legal representation to 63 victims.
  • Provided crisis intervention triage services to 1,112 individuals.
  • Provided individual counseling to 540 individuals and group counseling to 457 individuals.

 

AHA Walk

On September 23rd, Western Health Advantage will be promoting fun ways to be physically active and make healthier choices by participating as a sponsor and with a team in the 2017 Sacramento Heart & Stroke Walk. The event is put on by the American Heart Association, whose mission is to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

The 2017 Sacramento Heart & Stroke Walk will take place at 9 a.m. in William Land Park. There is also a State Capitol Walk on Thursday, September 21st. which starts at the State Capitol South Steps.

The Heart Walk is expected to draw about 10,000 participants who will take steps to be healthy for good on a non-competitive 1- or 3-mile walk while raising an estimated $1.5 million to fund research, education and community programs. Post walk entertainment includes a performance by The Ripoffs, covering hits from the ‘80’s with some current favorites.

The Heart Walk is the American Heart Association’s premier event for raising funds to save lives from this country’s No.1 and No. 5 leading causes of death – heart disease and stroke. AHA funds innovative research, fights for stronger public health policies, and provides critical tools and information to save and improve lives.

The American Heart Association has started a Healthy for Good™ movement which is designed to inspire all Americans to live healthier lives and create lasting change. It focuses on the simple idea of making small, simple changes today which can create a difference in your health. It consists of four pillars: eat smart, add color, move more, and be well. WHA is the local Healthy for Good cause sponsor.

Learn more about the Sacramento Heart & Stroke Walk

Info on heart disease and stroke and the American Heart Association

WHA has information about improving your health and wellness, including cardiac health.

Healthy family on bikes
One in three children in the United States are overweight or obese. Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

The good news is that childhood obesity can be prevented. In honor of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, Western Health Advantage encourages your family to make healthy changes together.

  • Get active outside: Walk around the neighborhood, go on a bike ride, or play basketball at the park.
  • Limit screen time: Keep screen time (time spent on the computer, watching TV, or playing video games) to 2 hours or less a day.
  • Make healthy meals: Buy and serve more vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain foods.

Taking small steps as a family can help your child stay at a healthy weight.

For more information, visit the U.S. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion’s website.

Western Health Advantage also has information on adolescent health.

September is National Cholesterol Education Month so this is a good time to focus on that aspect of your health. High blood cholesterol is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, the first and fifth leading causes of death in the United States. High cholesterol is asymptomatic; therefore, blood cholesterol screening is the only way to know one’s risk.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends regular cholesterol screening for men aged ≥35 years, women aged ≥45 years, and men aged 20–35 years and women aged 20–45 years who are at an increased risk for coronary heart disease.

Lowering high cholesterol or maintaining a healthy cholesterol level can reduce the risk for heart attack or stroke. Health behaviors such as engaging in physical activity, maintaining a healthy weight, following a heart-healthy diet, and using medication can all contribute to the maintenance of a healthy cholesterol level and decreased risk for heart attack or stroke.

Educational materials and additional information are available on the CDC’s website.

Western Health Advantage also has tips for living more healthfully on our website.

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