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“Creating A Healthy Community”

African American news from Pasadena - News - creating a healthy community - annual Southern CA Women's Health Conference[Pictured top left: Lena L. Kennedy, Conference Director; Pastor Jean Burch; Hon. Judy Chu, U.S. Congresswoman; Eric G. Walsh, M.D., Pasadena Public Health Department director; Teena Hostovich, master of ceremony; and Dr. Juanita L. Watts, keynote speaker.]

"It's never too late or too early to get started on the road to better health," said Dr. Juanita L. Watts. The Kaiser Permanente physician shared her passion and knowledge about women's health to a diverse crowd of hundreds at the Pasadena Civic Center. She was the keynote speaker at the 13th Annual Southern California Women's Health Care Conference. It took place on November 1. Founder and Conference Co-Director Lena L. Kennedy challenged everyone this year to create healthier lifestyles for themselves.

People got advice from experts on how to keep their minds and bodies fit. Workshops covered a range of issues including breast cancer prevention, pain management, fertility, diabetes, sex as you age and how women can benefit from the new Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).

Registered Dietitian Victoria Buxton-Pacheco's workshop focused on Nutrition and Brain Health. She said eating the right foods can help keep our brains stimulated as we age. "The brain is a use it or lose it type of organ," she told a packed room. "When we continue learning new things, we keep the brain sharp," Pacheco said. According to Pacheco, some "good brain foods" are wild salmon, nuts, plus lots of vegetables and fruit, especially blueberries.

Another workshop expert discussed why it's so important for women to pay more attention to their mental heath. "Only 17 percent of U.S. adults are considered to be in a state of optimal mental health," said Loren M. Hill, Ph.D. Depression is the most common type of mental illness and women exhibit greater levels of depression than men, said the psychologist. But she says the good news is there are steps you can take to improve your mental well-being. A few ways to do that are to value yourself, take care of your body, surround yourself with good people, learn to deal with stress, and set aside some quiet time to relax your mind. However, she advises, some people may also need to get professional help by licensed professionals.

Heart disease ends many lives, and it is the number one killer of women. Kaiser Permanente's Dr. Juanita Watts said women still fail to recognize the basic symptoms of the onset of a heart attack, like tightness in the chest and sharp back pain "Every heartbeat is life," she added. Dr. Watts used a line from a hit song in her closing remarks, and encouraged conference participants to "live your life like it's golden."

[Photos by Monique Stennis.]



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