A sample text widget

Etiam pulvinar consectetur dolor sed malesuada. Ut convallis euismod dolor nec pretium. Nunc ut tristique massa.

Nam sodales mi vitae dolor ullamcorper et vulputate enim accumsan. Morbi orci magna, tincidunt vitae molestie nec, molestie at mi. Nulla nulla lorem, suscipit in posuere in, interdum non magna.

Healthy Weight Week

healthy weight weekThe Annual Healthy Weight Week is a week-long observance to recognize healthy diet-free living habits that result in the prevention of eating and weight issues.

Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial to healthy living, but people are often sucked into fraudulent diets and weight-loss “miracles.” Tuesday, January 21 is devoted to ridding the world of fad diets and gimmicks. Here are some tips on how to identify weight loss fraud and quackery:

  • claims a large, fast, easy weight loss
  • uses terms like “miraculous, breakthrough, secret, unique”
  • misuse of medical or technical terms
  • requires special foods purchased from the company
  • fails to state risks or recommend a medical exam
  • grants mystical properties to certain food or ingredients
  • demands large advance payments or long-term contracts
  • distributed through hard-sell mail order ads or television infomercials

Instead, we encourage you to improve your health habits in lasting, diet-free ways. Try this:

  • live actively
  • eat well (in normal ways and fully nourished)
  • accept and respect yourself and others – all women and bodies are different!

Click here for more reasons not to diet…

The 2014 Call for Champions in Women’s Health Nominations is open!


2013 Champions in Women’s Health

The Champions in Women’s Health Awards honor individuals who have demonstrated exemplary leadership and devoted themselves to improving the quality of life for women and families in their professional career. Past champions have been instrumental in raising the level of awareness about women’s health issues, and have impacted the quality of care that women in this state receive. You can view a list of past Champions here.

Champions will be honored for their work during a private dinner reception on Saturday, May 3, 2014 at the Madison Concourse Hotel, and also during our Spring Gala at the beautiful State Capitol Rotunda later that evening.

Please consider nominating individuals for this prestigious award. Click here for a 2014 Champions Nomination Application, nomination guidelines and nomination submission instructions. Applications should be sent to WWHF by January 31st. Contact Julie Whitehorse by phone at 608-251-1675 ext. 106 or by email with any questions.

Join Us!



We want YOU to come visit us at the well EXPO in Madison, WI on February 7th and 8th.

What is the well EXPO?

Well EXPO is the only event in the Madison area devoted to showcasing local resources for weight loss, medical care, wellness programs, healthy foods, green living, exercise, beauty and more!

When & where?

Monona Terrace (1 John Nolen Drive, Madison WI 53703)

February 7th (1-7pm) & 8th (10am-4pm), 2014


Tickets are $5 at the door. Paid Friday attendees can return Saturday for free!

Free admission on Saturday with 2 non-perishable food items or a cash donation to The River Food Pantry.

Logo - No WordsWhy visit the WWHF booth?

WWHF will be offering free health screenings at the well EXPO at varying times throughout the day. We will have free education and prevention materials on crucial areas of women’s health. Come learn more about our biggest fundraiser of the year, our 15th Annual Spring Gala, and other upcoming events!

Work with us at this event!

Want to volunteer to work with WWHF at this event? Click here to sign up to staff a two-hour shift at the WWHF booth. Volunteers will assist guests participating in free health screenings and distributing information about upcoming events!

We will see you there!



What Can YOU Do to Keep a Healthy Mouth?

Your teeth and your gums.


These things might be more important than you previously thought. Here at the Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation, we are committed to providing education and prevention information to women like you – and an important area of women’s health is oral health!

What do we know already?

  • education and prevention are key in reducing untreated dental disease
  • oral health impacts overall health
  • nutrition and home care are key to maintaining oral health
  • women are complicated 🙂

WisconsinOral health and our home state, Wisconsin

Access to complete dental care is difficult for poor and un/underinsured adults. Only about 30% of all eligible Medicaid enrollees received any dental services and there are even further issues for those with special needs. These are all issues that need to be addressed and corrections need to be facilitated.

Oral health and young adulthood

Risk factors influencing oral health begin very early. Some of these young adult risk factors include:

  • smoking
  • poor nutritional habits
  • eating disorders

Women-specific oral health

  • female hormones act directly on oral tissues and other body systems that can produce effects in the oral cavity
  • some women experience swollen and bleeding gums a week prior to menstruation – a sign of poor oral health – even without noticeable plaque
  • high amounts of estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy can affect oral tissues and swelling and bleeding during this time is very common
  • excessive vomiting due to morning sickness during pregnancy can lead to decay and tooth loss

So, what’s a girl to do?!

  • optimal home care (flossing and brushing) are a must!
  • dental treatment is recommended during pregnancy
  • optimal plaque control, additional fluoride and proper nutrition
  • drink lots of fluoridated water
  • use proper brushing technique (toothbrush 45 degree angle to gum tissue, slow gentle circular motion, 2-3 minutes)
  • use proper flossing technique (hold floss tightly against tooth surface, work up and down – don’t saw!)

Sue Ann Says: Pursue Healthy Habits in the New Year

SAT HeadshotBy the time you read this article, you may have already broken your New Year’s Resolutions.  Did you plan to lose 10 pounds?  Or plan to exercise every weekday?  After consuming 14 holiday cookies at once, did you add fruit to your snack list?  You mean well, but somehow the resolutions aren’t sticking.  Don’t be discouraged.  I have learned that if I purposely set out to be healthy all year, I don’t have to set resolutions.  This month I have some creative ideas and expert advice to help you attain a positive mind and healthy body in 2014.  My guidelines include exercising, eating healthy, scheduling your doctor appointments and managing your stress.

Winter Weather Exercise
If cold weather makes you pack on the pounds, try these easy steps to stay fit.

  • Turn up the music and dance while you clean.
  • Find an exercise DVD that you enjoy and exercise to it in the morning.
  • Check your newspaper for local hospitals, churches or schools that offer inexpensive exercise classes. Join with a friend.
  • Climb the stairwell at work with a co-worker.
  • Turn off the computer and TV to find those spare minutes you need to exercise.

Don’t mind the cold Wisconsin weather?  Slip outside for some fresh air and joy!

  • Walk with a friend or your spouse/partner, but choose a new route each week.
  • Ask if you can walk the neighbor’s dog. Great exercise for you and a friendly neighbor gesture.
  • Try cross country skiing, snowshoeing or ice skating. Some towns have rental equipment available, or buy used equipment.
  • Play with your children or grandchildren in the snow. Walking up and down the hills while sledding will burn off cookie calories.

Eat Healthy to Stay Fit All Year
Registered Nurse Dawn Garcia from Eau Claire conveyed her best healthy eating suggestions to me. “Diet health is based upon a low fat diet, with a balance of lean meats/seafood, with lots of vegetables, fruits, and water.  The average diet has too many simple carbohydrates, sugars and salt, which are important areas to change.  Especially for women over 40, the diet should have servings of fish/seafood at least 2 times a week, choosing foods like salmon with high levels of Omega 3, to reduce heart health risks.  Five servings of vegetables are recommended per day, including leafy green vegetables, cabbage varieties, and tomatoes.”

“One other area specifically needed in women’s diets is calcium.  This can be found in low-fat milk, cheeses and yogurts.  Most women do not have dietary calcium sufficient to meet the recommended daily requirements, and should increase their dietary intake, or consider taking a supplement to preserve bone mass, and reduce the risk of fractures,” said Dawn.

Dr. Yasmine Subhi Ali, a cardiologist from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, shared her healthy eating advice.  “My advice to women to stay heart healthy in 2014 is to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables every day.  If you are overweight, aim to lose at least 5-10% of your current weight. Eating more veggies helps with this!”

Trudy Scott, a Food Mood Expert and Nutritionist from California works with women and their families about real whole foods.  Trudy said “Quality is the key when it comes to all the foods we consume and this includes animal protein such as red meat.  Opt for choices that are grass-fed and free of hormones and antibiotics, and humanely treated.  Grass-fed red meat contains amino acids, zinc, iron and good levels of omega-3s – all of which are so crucial for balancing brain chemicals – improving both anxiety and depression and reducing cravings.”

Plan Your Annual Physical Exams and Dental Appointments
RN Dawn Garcia recommends annual exams.  “The most important reason to see your doctor annually is to ensure that you’re participating in preventative health screening procedures that can identify a serious health problem early, before there is a serious health consequence or procedure needed.”
Appointments should include:

  • Annual health history
  • Physical exam
  • Recommended breast exams and mammography
  • Pelvic exams
  • Cancer screenings for women over 50 (colonoscopy)
  • Dental cleaning/exam every 6 months.

Lower Stress to Stay Healthy
“Stress ages our cells and causes immune system disorders,” explained Robert Lawrence Friedman, psychotherapist and author of the book How to Relax in 60 Seconds or Less (2010).  “Women who are nurturing need to learn to nurture themselves better.  You need to say, ‘I deserve joy.  I deserve to relax.’ Use the ‘Power of Slow’ to make a conscious effort to slow down.  Relaxation is about slowing down.  Slow down your breathing, walking or talking.”  Robert’s advice includes:

  • Fill your mind with positive thoughts. Create a series of relaxing images you can focus on with your mind.
  • Find someone to share with who supports you. Don’t emotionally isolate yourself.
  • Find gratitude in your life. Keep a journal full of positive thoughts and pictures.
  • Pick up a drum to get rid of internal stress and anger and build empowerment. Drumming together builds community. Besides it’s fun! (Healing Power of The Drum, 2000)

This New Year begin a fresh start by taking small steps every day to make yourself healthy.

Because it all begins with a healthy woman…

Sue Ann Thompson is founder and president of the Wisconsin Women’s Health Foundation (WWHF), a statewide non-profit organization whose mission is to help Wisconsin women and their families reach their healthiest potential.  WWHF provides programs and conducts forums that focus on education, prevention, and early detection; connects individuals to health resources; produces and distributes the most up-to-date health education and resource materials; and, awards grants and scholarships to women health researchers and related community non-profits. To learn more, visit www.wwhf.org or call 800-448-5148.

Protect Yourself from Frigid Temperatures

railing2Everywhere you turn these days, people are talking about the cold weather and the “polar vortex”.  Wisconsin has set record low air temperatures and record wind chill temperatures.  Be sure to plan ahead to avoid cold weather injuries such as frostbite or hypothermia.

What is frostbite?

Frostbite is literally the freezing of body tissue (usually skin) caused by either prolonged exposure to cold temperatures or shorter exposure to very cold temperatures.

There are three degrees of frostbite, including:

  • Frostnip, which is a mild form of frostbite and does not lead to permanent tissue damage.  It usually affects ears, cheeks, nose, fingertips and toes.
  • Superficial frostbite, in which the outer skin is affected and can cause lasting damage.
  • Deep frostbite, in which the skin and underlying tissue freezes.  Permanent damage is possible, depending on how long and how deeply the tissue is frozen.

Who is at risk?

Anyone can end up with frostbite if exposed to frigid conditions for too long, but some people are more vulnerable than others, including:

  • The very young and the very old.
  • People with diabetes or other medical conditions associated with poor circulation.
  • People with heart conditions who take beta-blockers.
  • Those who smoke and/or drink alcohol while exposed to cold weather.

What are the signs/symptoms of frostnip/frostbite?

Signs of frostnip include pale skin, numbness, or tingling in the affected area.  A “pins and needles” sensation, severe pain, itching, and burning are all common when the affected area is warmed and blood starts flowing again.  Frostbite is more serious and skin can become hard, pale, and cold.  It may ache but lack sensitivity to touch.  As the area thaws, it becomes red and painful.  With severe frostbite, skin may look white, grayish-yellow, or even black and it may feel hard, waxy, and numb.  Blistering is also common.

What are the treatments for frostnip/frostbite?

Get out of the cold and into a warm place.  Remove any constrictive or wet clothing.

  • For frostnip, immerse the affected area in warm, not hot, water.  If water is not available, warm the tissue with body heat.  For example, warm your hands by tucking them into your armpits and warm your nose, ears, or face by covering them with dry hands.
  • For frostbite, wrap affected areas in sterile dressings being sure to separate fingers and toes.  Go to an urgent care or an emergency room right away.

Do not:

  • Thaw the frostbitten tissue if there is a chance that it will refreeze before you get medical attention, as this increases the likelihood of permanent damage.
  • Rub or massage frostbitten skin or disturb blisters, which can further damage tissue.
  • Use direct dry heat, like heating pads or a campfire to thaw frostbitten tissue.

How can I stay safe?

Listen to the weather forecasts, plan ahead and be prepared.  Don’t ignore warnings about storms and wind chills.  Also:

  • Wear several layers of warm loose clothing to help trap warm air between the layers.  The layer closest to your skin should be a fabric that wicks moisture from the skin (like a polyester blend).  The outer layer should serve as a windbreaker.
  • Mittens provide more protection than gloves.  Wearing two pairs of socks is advised, with wool recommended for the outer later.  And don’t forget a hat and scarf that covers the ears.  A large amount of body heat can be lost through your head.
  • Get moving.  Increasing physical activity will help your body stay warm.  Wiggle fingers and toes if they start to feel numb.
  • Don’t drink alcohol before or during cold weather exposure, since alcohol may prevent you from realizing that your body is becoming too cold.
  • Don’t smoke.  Smoking constricts blood vessels and increases the risk for frostbite.

Keep a winter survival kit in your car.  In an emergency, it could save your life and the lives of your passengers.  Be sure to grab some bottled water and any necessary medications right before leaving.  Here is what you’ll need to put together a car kit:

  • windshield scraper and small broom
  • flashlight with extra batteries
  • battery powered radio
  • snack food including energy bars, raisins and mini candy bars2010-07-09-121316-1800x1928-600x401
  • matches and small candles
  • extra hats, socks and mittens
  • first aid kit with pocket knife
  • blankets or sleeping bag
  • jumper cables
  • tow chain or rope
  • a shovel
  • road salt, sand, or cat litter for traction
  • emergency flares and reflectors, fluorescent distress flag and whistle to attract attention
  • cell phone charger to plug into lighter

Many people with frostbite may also suffer from hypothermia (body temperature that is too low), which can be deadly.  This is why it is so important to seek medical attention immediately.  Signs of hypothermia may include: slowed or slurred speech; sleepiness or confusion; shivering or stiffness in the arms and legs; poor control over body movements; slow reactions, or a weak pulse.

Birth Defects Prevention & Awareness Month

Each year, birth defects affect about 1 in 33 newborns in the United States[1].  Birth defects account for 20% of infant deaths[2].  Infants who live with birth defects often have life-long physical and cognitive impairments, costing families and the health care system millions.birth defects infographic

Not all birth defects can be prevented, but there are several things that women of childbearing age and pregnant women can do to help increase their chance of delivering a healthy baby:

  1. Abstain from alcohol, tobacco and illicit drugs and talk to your health care provider about any medications you are taking.
  2. Keep diabetes (Type I and II) under control.
  3. Consume at least 400 mcg of folic acid before and during pregnancy.  What’s folic acid?
    • Folic acid is a B vitamin our bodies use to make new cells.
    • Folic acid occurs naturally in some foods such as: beans, spinach, asparagus, broccoli, peanuts, oranges and other citrus fruit.
    • Folic acid can be found in multivitamins, prenatal vitamins and fortified or enriched foods, like cereal.
  4. Maintain a healthy weight before and during pregnancy.


To learn more about births defects and prevention, visit these resources:
National Birth Defects Prevention Network
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention


[1] CDC. Update on overall prevalence of major birth defects—Atlanta, Georgia, 1978–2005. MMWR 2008;57:1–5.

[2] Kochanek KD, Xu JQ, Murphy SL, Miniño AM, Kung H. Deaths: final data for 2009. Natl Vital Stat Rep 2011;60(3).


Support Our Mission This Holiday Season

Annual Appeal

Donate Here


Sign Up for WWHF Connect!

We’re excited to introduce you to WWHF ConnectWWHF’s new e-newsletter dedicated to the health and wellness of Wisconsin women! Our first issue went out in October and it was a hit! We provided our recipients with a variety of updates and information. Here are some things that were included in October:

  • Sue Ann Says – Understanding Multiple Sclerosis
  • Let Your Car Do More Good
  • Program Update: First Breath RSS
  • Upcoming WWHF Events
  • FREE 3 month subscription to BRAVA Magazine!

What will be in our next issue? Sign up by emailing McKaye Whiteside (mwhiteside@wwhf.org) to find out!

Happy Holidays

…from all of us here at WWHF. Stay warm and well during the holiday season!