News From Our Blog

One in Three: Sexual Assault Affects Too Many Women

By Dr. Nancy C. Lee, Director, Office on Women’s Health

Sexual violence is a serious public health issue that affects millions of Americans, especially women.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five women have been raped in their lifetime, and more than one in three have experienced other forms of sexual violence. As a nation, we need to address this threat.

Sexual assault is any type of unwanted sexual contact or experience. Most often, women know the person who assaults them. It might be a partner, friend, coworker, neighbor, or family member. No matter who it is — even if it’s someone you’re in a romantic relationship with — no one has the right to force you into unwanted sexual activity or attention.

If you have been sexually assaulted, it is not your fault — no matter where or how it happened.

It might feel scary to ask for help or support, but help is available. Whether you were assaulted recently or many years ago, you can call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or use the Online Hotline. Both are free, confidential, and open 24/7. Trained staff are there to listen, give you support, and help you find any resources you might need.

Even with these free resources, many women who experience sexual assault don’t get the help they need. Many women do not report it because they’re afraid, worried their stories won’t be believed, or feel embarrassed or ashamed. They may also keep it to themselves because they’ve been threatened with further trouble if they tell anyone.

At the U.S Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, we believe health care providers may be a resource for women to get the help they need. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, providers are now able to take on a bigger role in addressing sexual assault and abuse. The health care law requires most health insurance plans to cover screening and counseling for interpersonal and domestic violence with no cost-sharing.

Doctors or nurses can screen you for interpersonal violence during your annual well-woman visit or at any other health care visit, making it part of routine care. Your provider may ask you about violence directly or she may be more subtle. For example, if you have asthma, your provider may ask you if anyone at home prevents you from using your asthma medication. If you were to answer “yes,” it would be a sign that you may be in an unhealthy relationship. Your provider could then help you find appropriate services and resources.

The next time you visit your doctor or nurse for a routine checkup, don’t be surprised if she asks you about abuse, however she works it into the conversation. You may be in a healthy, happy relationship today — but for those who are not, those questions could be the first step to getting help.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Please share this post with the women in your life.

As you age, you may want to take dietary supplements to round out your nutrition. Learn about options: 

Nutritional Needs of Older Individuals

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By Holly Greuling RD, LD/N, Nutritionist, Administration on Aging, U.S. Administration for Community Living

Happy National Nutrition Month!  During this month, take stock of your nutritional habits.  

Eating a healthy balance of nutritious foods is more important than ever as you age.  Eating the right foods, eating the right amount of foods and regular physical activity will help you reach and maintain a healthy weight.  Almost 45 percent of people over age 65 have one or more chronic conditions or disease. Eating right helps prevent and manage many diseases that affect older people, such as diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

Healthy eating tips for older adults include:

  • Eating many different colors and types of vegetables and fruits. Choose dark green vegetables or fruits such as spinach, kale, kiwi or avocado; consume bright orange-red colored vegetables or fruits such as tomatoes, squash, sweet potatoes, oranges, pomegranate, mangos or strawberries.

  • Making sure at least half of your grains are whole grains.  This will help provide nutrients that you need, but also will add fiber to your diet.  Choose brown rice, whole wheat bread or oatmeal to help increase your fiber and nutrient intake.

  • Eating only small amounts of solid fats and foods with added sugars.  These foods add calories to your diet but few or no nutrients.  Cut back on solid fats.  Butter, doughnuts, candy bars and sweetened soda/pop add calories but little else.

  • Limiting saturated or solid fat found mostly in foods that come from animals.  These foods provide nutrients, but also more fat than you need.  If you consume animal products, choose lean meats, fat free milk, and skinned chicken.  Choose baked, steamed or broiled rather than fried foods.

  • Drinking fluids.  Drink plenty of water, 100 percent juice, skim or low fat milk, and coffee or tea to stay hydrated.  Our ability to detect thirst declines as we age, so drink fluids routinely and do not wait until you are thirsty.

  • Eating a variety of foods.  This will help to insure that your diet includes the 40+ nutrients you need to keep your body healthy.  


Some older people have trouble consuming the nutritious foods they need to stay healthy and independent.  Some have trouble chewing, take medications that prevent them from eating certain foods, or simply do not like to eat alone. Others have physical problems that make it hard to shop for groceries or cook.


If you have trouble getting, preparing, or eating a healthy diet, you should know about the Older Americans Act Nutrition Program (OAANP), a program of the Administration on Aging (AoA), an agency within the U.S. Administration for Community Living.  The OAANP is a nationwide program for frail or vulnerable people aged 60 and older that provides food and nutrition services including:

  • Meals served at senior centers and other community gathering places.
  • Home-delivered meals for homebound persons.
  • Nutrition screening, education, and counseling.

The OAANP serves all 50 states, six territories and 256 tribes through a network of more than 5,000 local nutrition service providers.  If you suspect that an older loved one or neighbor isn’t able to get proper nutrition, then help them find a local aging service provider by visiting the Eldercare locator website.


If you or a loved one needs additional information on the nutritional needs of older adults, please visit the National Institute on Aging website or visit Administration on Aging

Mental Health Survey Finds 18 Percent of Americans Suffer From Mental Illness

The newest mental health data released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration found that nearly 18 percent of Americans suffer from some form of mental illness.

The report shows national estimates of the prevalence of mental health disorders and mental health service use in the past year for youths between the ages of 12 and 17 and adults ages 18 and older.

Some findings from the survey include:

  • An estimated 43.7 million adults — 18.6 percent of adults in this country — suffered from a mental illness in the past year.

  • Women aged 18 or older were more likely than men to have a mental illness in the past year (22.0 vs. 14.9 percent).

  • An estimated 34.1 million adults or 14.5 percent of the population aged 18 or older received mental health services, like treatment or counseling, during the past 12 months. This is higher than in the previous year. (31.6 million people and 13.6 percent).

  • There were 2.2 million youths aged 12 to 17 (9.1 percent) who had a major depressive episode during the past year.

  • Among youths, females were more likely than males to have a major depressive episode in the past year (13.7 vs. 4.7 percent).

  • The most common reason for youths receiving specialty mental health services was feeling depressed (50.7 percent).


Read the full report and learn more at SAMHSA.

Know what you’re looking at when you read a nutrition label.