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Women: The CEO's of Family Health
A Conversation with
Dr. Pamela Graber

Director, Anthem's Healthy Woman Program

What are some of the key health issues facing today's woman? Pamela Graber, M.D., Director of Anthem's Healthy Woman Program, says women need information to make healthy choices for themselves and their families.

The Healthy Woman Program is a preventative care and educational program that was created several years ago to focus on the special health needs of women. Here, Dr. Graber talks about those issues.

Why do you think it's important to provide women with health information?

There's been a shift in the way men and women obtain medical information. While people used to consult their doctors, they now use a variety of information technologies, including the Internet, to find the health information they need.

Of the 52 million Americans who seek health information online, 40 percent say it affects their health decisions. Women are more likely than men to seek health information online, and they are twice as likely as men to seek information on behalf of a child.

(Sources of data: The Pew Internet & American Life Project: Health Care)

Can healthy habits really make a difference?

Eating habits make a difference. From 1988 to 1998, the death rate from coronary heart disease declined 26 percent. Since 1965, smoking has decreased 42 percent among people ages 18 and older. Unfortunately, not everyone is making healthy choices, but a few steps can help improve your health:

  • Treat your body to physical movement that you enjoy. In the United States, sedentary life-styles contribute to quarter million deaths per year.
  • Breathe clean, smoke-free air. If you smoke, quit. One year after quitting, the excess risk of heart disease is cut in half. Fifteen years after quitting, the risk is similar to those who never smoked.
  • Eat a large variety of fresh, colorful foods daily.
  • Know that your blood pressure, lipids and glucose are in the appropriate range.
  • Discuss soy versus estrogen supplements with your doctor.
  • Take a calcium supplement.
(Sources of data: American Heart Association's 2001 Heart and Stroke Statistical Update, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)

Why focus health information specifically for women?

Not only do women have special health needs, they most often are the caregivers and make 90 percent of all health care decisions for their family. Women in the 35 to 54 age groups pick up the majority of household prescriptions, make physician appointments and keep track of insurance claims and new medical treatments.

Basically, they're the CEO's of their family's health. So that's why we want to help them with a program that gives them the best information on how to go about doing all that.

(Sources of data: CareData Female Member Satisfaction Survey; The Beta Research Health Series, "Women's Health Issues 2000")


About the Author:
Pamela Graber, M.D., is board certified in both emergency medicine and public health with a medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin (previously Marquette) and a master's in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Based in Lexington, Ky., she is medical director for Anthem's Healthy Woman, a program of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.


Choosing Medical Insurance can be a tricky and complicated process. Experts from Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield are dedicated to assisting Cleveland Women. Please call us at 1-800-732-1893 for more information and a free quote.


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Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is the trade name of Community Insurance Company.
An independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.
Registered marks Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

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