Women’s Health & Fitness Day reveals low vitamin D levels raises risk of high blood pressure

Women’s Health and Fitness Day is Wednesday, September 30, 2009. It’s the nation’s largest annual health promotion event for women of all ages. For information on Sacramento/local health and fitness events see the Sacramento Bee’s Health and Fitness Blog.

Women are spending too much time indoors, worsening the levels of vitamin D3 they need to help prevent high blood pressure later in life, due to low levels of vitamin D. The natural form of vitamin D3 is better than the synthetic vitamin D2 put into various milk substitutes or other beverages, or even added to milk.

In future years, Women’s Health and Fitness Day will always be held on the last Wednesday in September. This unique national program — with participation by local organizations throughout the U.S. — focuses attention on the importance of regular physical activity and health awareness for women.

The event is similar in concept to its “sister” event — National Senior Health & Fitness Day — the nation’s largest older adult health promotion program held every May. Women’s Health & Fitness Day is part of a new National Women’s Health & Fitness Week, to be held annually the last week in September. The event’s goal is to motivate women to take charge of their healthy by learning which facts are needed to make smart health choices and take type for physical activity, healthier food, relieve stress, and get a good night’s sleep.

Each year on the last Wednesday of September, Women’s Health and Fitness Day is organized by a public/private good health partnership planned by the Health Information Resource Center (HIRC)sm, a national clearninghouse for consumer health information professionals. A ‘sister’ organization, the Mature Market Resource Center, organizes National Senior Health & Fitness Day, the nation’s largest older adult health promotion even held annually on the last Wednesday of May.

This Wednesday, September 30, up to 50,000 women of all ages will participate in local health and fitness events at hundreds of community locations across the country. This will be the eight annual National Women’s Health and Fitness Day(sm). It’s a new event starting this year.

Women register for fitness walks, exercise demonstrations, health fairs, and health information workshops. Local events include a physical activity component and educational information on fitness. Organizations that host a National Women’s Health and Fitness Day event have to register by paying a $29.95 event registration fee, plus shipping. Registered organizations receive an event manual. It’s a guide of all information needed to host and promote the event) and sample event incentive items such as T- shirts, baloons, and posters.

Other HIRC programs including programs for consumer health information professionals include the Web Health Awards,  Family Health & Fitness Day USA,  held on the last Saturday in September, and the annual National Health Information Awards. For further information on health programs, see the Online Health Association. For publications, see the Consumer Health Publishers Association.

Women should know for this day, not only fitness events are around, but also nutrition awareness because a new study shows that low vitamin D raises blood pressure in women. See the Reuters article, "Low vitamin D raises blood pressure in women: study." The new study funded by the U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases, published on September 23, 2009 was presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association in Chicago.

Early vitamin D deficiency may increase the long-term risk of high blood pressure in women at mid-life. The women in the latest blood pressure study lived in Tecumseh, Michigan, and were 24 to 44 years old with an average age of 38, when the research began.

Researchers in Michigan, who examined data on 559 women beginning in 1992, found that those with low levels of vitamin D were more likely to have high blood pressure 15 years later in 2007. The results of the study revealed that "younger white women with vitamin D deficiencies are about three times more likely to have high blood pressure in middle age than those with normal vitamin levels."

Researchers measured vitamin D blood levels at the outset and took blood pressure readings once a year. In 2007, they compared systolic readings — the top number in blood pressure results that indicates the pressure within blood vessels when the heart beats.

More than 10 percent of women with vitamin D deficiencies had high blood pressure in 2007, versus 3.7 percent of those with sufficient levels. When the study began, 5.5 percent with deficiencies also had high blood pressure, compared to 2.8 percent with normal vitamin D.

Almost half the population worldwide has lower-than-optimal levels of vitamin D and researchers say the problem is worsening as people spend more time indoors. African-Americans seem at especially high risk as dark skin can make it harder for the body to absorb ultraviolet light. That’s why fitness activities should be part of women’s activities, especially for those indoors most of the day.

Links to Fitness Activities and Information