Reproductive and sexual health

Today is day 4 of National Public Health Week 2012! Our awesome Master of Public Health Student Club (MPHSC) members have a number of activities in the works – see below – to promote health across communities and population. MPHSC members offer information below on today’s theme, reproductive and sexual health.

Why focus on reproductive and sexual health?

  • Nearly half of all pregnancies are unintended. Risks associated with these unintended pregnancies include low birth weight, postpartum depression, and family stress.
  • The rate of preterm birth has risen more than 20% in the last 20 years. These preterm infants are more likely to suffer complications such as respiratory distress, infant mortality, cerebral palsy, and learning disabilities.
  • There are about 19 million new cases of sexually transmitted infections in the U.S. each year.
  • An estimated 1 million Americans are living with HIV and each year another 50,000 become infected.
  • Preconception and prenatal care can reduce birth defects, low birth weight, and many other preventable conditions.

What can you do if you want to start small?

  • Eat healthy, stay active, quit smoking, don’t drink, and get prenatal care during pregnancy.
  • Get tested for HIV and other STDs.
  • Discuss sexual health concerns with your provider.
  • Talk to your children about knowledge, values, and attitudes related to sexual activity, sexuality and healthy relationships.

What can you do if you want to think big?

  • Work with local schools to ensure they are providing comprehensive reproductive and sexual health education.
  • Collaborate with a local hospital to offer HIV and STD testing.
  • Promote community-based prevention programs for intimate partner violence and sexual assault.
  • Encourage employers to provide health coverage that includes family planning and reproductive health services.
  • Promote the importance of planning for healthy pregnancies in your community.

Don’t forget to post what you did well today on the website! Everyone who submits a post will be entered to win one of our fabulous prizes!

Important reminders:
MPHSC Do Something Well Today T-shirts are still available for purchase. If you are not in the Des Moines area, just follow the ordering instructions on the linked page and we will ship one to you.

Don’t forget to put the “Strategies for Community Health Improvement” discussion with Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and DMU President Angela Walker Franklin, Ph.D., on your calendar for tomorrow at 12:30 pm in the SEC auditorium.

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