Skip the fried and fatty foods, and strive for at least half an hour of exercise daily. Eating right and keeping active are the gifts that keep on giving. If you establish these habits now, the benefits will last a lifetime. And if you plan on having children someday, it's a good idea to take a multivitamin that gives you plenty of folic acid now. Research shows that taking 400 micrograms of folic acid daily for a year before becoming pregnant reduces the risk of premature delivery and neural tube defects.
When Katie Couric joined CBS Evening News as its anchor and managing
editor last September after a 15-year run as co-anchor of NBC's Today
show, she famously became the first woman to hold that solo anchor position.
Behind the scenes, she also became a driving force behind CBS's newly enhanced
health and medical coverage.
"I told [my producers], 'We must have a strong medical unit,'"
Couric says. In response, they've "really beefed it up, and I think we're
getting ready to beef it up even...
2. Work on your relationship -- with your doctor, that is.
"People really delay getting a primary care doctor once they're past having a pediatrician," says JoAnn Manson, chief of the division of preventive medicine at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital. So, locate a healthcare provider you trust. Develop a list of questions: What contraceptive method is right for you? What is the best way to prevent STDs? What vaccines do I need?
3. Know your family health history.
Did your sister, mother or grandmother die of breast cancer or heart disease at or prior to 50? Does early-onset diabetes run in the family? These are important questions to ask your parents and grandparents while you still can. "Construct a family medical history tree," Manson says.
4. Don't forget key screening tests.
Make sure you get your annual Pap smears and regular breast exams by a health professional. Monthly breast self-exams or "breast self-awareness" is important. Check out the Susan G. Komen Foundation's Breast Self-Awareness tools for the instructional techniques. Some doctors also recommend thyroid screenings for pregnant women or women thinking about becoming pregnant.