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Girlfriends' Health

Three women smilingAugust 1 is National Girlfriends Day. Friends can offer support, work out with you, and call your attention to matters you may be ignoring. Learn tips to help you and your friends stay safe and healthy.

Be Active and Eat Healthy

Make healthy choices when you get together with your friends. Find fun ways to get physical activity like walking, dancing, a group exercise class, or swimming. When eating out or cooking at home, be sure to include fruits and vegetables and other healthy foods. Avoid foods and beverages high in calories, saturated fat, and reduce the amounts of sugars and salt in your diet.

Get Preventive Screenings and Care

Friends can tell each other about the importance of getting recommended screenings, which can help find problems early, and help identify which ones to focus your attention for better health.

Check Your Sexual Health

You and your friends talk about everything…including sexual health. Share tips on everything from having a healthy pregnancy to preventing sexually transmitted diseases. Here are a few tips to help you stay healthy.

Prevent Skin Cancer

More than 9,000 Americans die each year of melanoma, the deadliest kind of skin cancer. The majority of skin cancer is caused by exposure to too much ultraviolet light. Remind your friends that tanned skin is damaged skin and that tanning indoors is not safer than tanning in the sun.

To lower your skin cancer risk, protect your skin from the sun and avoid indoor tanning. Encourage your friends to take these steps:

  • Stay in the shade, especially during midday hours.
  • Wear clothing that covers your arms and legs.
  • Wear sunglasses that block ultraviolet rays.
  • Use sunscreen with SPF (sun protection factor) 15 or higher and reapply every two hours and after swimming, sweating, or toweling off.

Quit Alcohol and Tobacco

Encourage your friends to cut down on drinking and to quit smoking. Resources are available for people who are trying to quit or cut down on drinking or give up smoking.

  • Binge drinking (defined for women as consuming four or more drinks on an occasion) and excessive alcohol use increases the chances of breast cancer, heart disease, sexually transmitted diseases, unintended pregnancy, and other health problems.
  • Call1-800-662-HELP (1-800-662-4357)—to get information about drug and alcohol treatment in your local community.
  • Quitting smoking [745 KB] has immediate and long-term benefits. You lower your risk for different types of cancer, and don't expose others to secondhand smoke—which causes health problems.
  • Call your state's tobacco quitline (for English speakers, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW [1-800-784-8669]; for Spanish speakers, call 1-855-DÉJELO-YA [1-855-335-3569]) or visit smokefreewomen.

Protect Healthy Relationships and Prevent Violence

Intimate partner violence has significant adverse health consequences. Over 1 in 5 women (22%) have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime. This violence and its heavy toll can be prevented. Promoting respectful, nonviolent relationships is key.

If you are, or know someone who is, the victim of intimate partner violence, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (1-800-799-7233) or contact your local emergency services at 9-1-1.

  • Page last reviewed: July 28, 2016
  • Page last updated: July 28, 2016
  • Content source:
    • Office of Women's Health
    • Page maintained by: Office of the Associate Director for Communication, Division of News and Electronic Media