Office on Women's Health

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The Office on Women's Health (OWH) is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and functions to improve the health and well-being of U.S. women and girls. The main headquarters, from which the OWH operate, is located in Washington, DC with ten other regional women's health coordinators positioned across the country to implement local health initiatives.

Health, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), is "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." This definition has been subject to controversy, as it may have limited value for implementation. Health may be defined as the ability to adapt and manage physical, mental and social challenges throughout life.

Well-being, wellbeing, or wellness is the condition of an individual or group. A high level of well-being means that in some sense the individual's or group's condition is positive.

Contents

Background

The OWH was introduced in 1991 within the DHHS and is directed by the Deputy Assistant Secretary for [Women's] Health (DASWH.) [1] The OWH typically work alongside federal government agencies; associations of health care professionals; tribal organizations; non-profit charities; consumer groups and state, county and local governments. Through funding and contracts with these organisations, the OWH is able to administer various strategies and programmes to improve women's health in America and increase awareness.

Awards and recognition

A number of campaigns employed by the OWH have gained recognition for their work:

Best Bones Forever

Best Bones Forever! is a national bone health campaign that encourages girls ages 9–14 to adopt healthy habits for bone growth and osteoporosis prevention. The campaign was created by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health (OWH) in 2009. The campaign uses popular language, bright colors and images, and energetic messages to express a focus on fun and friendship. Best Bones Forever! aims to improve girls’ bone health behaviors, which include eating foods with calcium and vitamin D and participating in regular physical activity.

Calcium Chemical element with atomic number 20

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Vitamin D group of molecules used as vitamin

Vitamin D is a group of fat-soluble secosteroids responsible for increasing intestinal absorption of calcium, magnesium, and phosphate, and multiple other biological effects. In humans, the most important compounds in this group are vitamin D3 (also known as cholecalciferol) and vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol). Cholecalciferol and ergocalciferol can be ingested from the diet and from supplements. Only a few foods contain vitamin D. The major natural source of the vitamin is synthesis of cholecalciferol in the skin from cholesterol through a chemical reaction that is dependent on sun exposure (specifically UVB radiation). Dietary recommendations typically assume that all of a person's vitamin D is taken by mouth, as sun exposure in the population is variable and recommendations about the amount of sun exposure that is safe are uncertain in view of the skin cancer risk.

Regional Coordinators

The role of local coordinators is to comply with national strategy established by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and to represent the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health by initiating campaigns in their communities. Other responsibilities include identifying regional needs in women's health and implementing activities in health care service delivery, research, and education. The regions are split up in the following way: [3]

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References

  1. "U.S. Department of Health andHuman Services Office on Women'sHealth (OWH)" (PDF). womenshealth.gov. Retrieved 20 June 2013.
  2. "Awards and Recognition". womenshealth.gov. Retrieved 20 June 2013.
  3. "Regional women's health offices and programs". womenshealth.gov. Retrieved 20 June 2013.