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Standards Boost Healthy Habits during National Women's Health Week

Every May, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)'s Office of Women's Health coordinates National Women's Health Week, an annual week dedicated to focusing attention on the promotion of women's health nationwide. During National Women's Health Week, which is taking place May 12-18, 2013, hospitals, community organizations, nonprofits, and other groups will observe the celebration by holding events and raising awareness of issues and topics related to women's health. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) supports National Women's Health Week and applauds the work carried out by its Federation of members to develop voluntary consensus standards that help women improve their health.

One of the central elements of National Women's Health Week is its focus on encouraging women to have regular medical checkups and preventive screenings. Breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death for adult women, and mammograms, a common screening tool, can allow for early detection of this type of cancer, potentially making treatment more effective. IEC 60627 Ed. 2.0 b:2001, Diagnostic X-ray imaging equipment - Characteristics of general purpose and mammographic anti-scatter grids, a standard developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), provides definitions, determination, and indication of characteristics related to anti-scatter grids used in diagnostic X-ray imaging equipment. It also includes guidelines reducing the incidence of scattered radiation in the image reception area, which makes the resulting images more legible and easier to read and interpret. The standard was developed by IEC Technical Committee (TC) 62, Electrical equipment in medical practice, Subcommittee (SC) 62B, Diagnostic imaging equipment; IEC TC 62 is chaired by Dr. Rodolfo Godinez of the United States. ANSI member the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) serves as the United States National Committee (USNC)-approved Technical Advisory Group (TAG) Administrator for IEC TC 62, while ANSI member and accredited standards developer the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) currently serves as the TAG Administrator for SC 62B.

Regular checkups and screenings also play an important role in reducing the risks associated with cervical cancer, a widespread cancer caused by infection with certain strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV). Early detection of HPV infections and cervical cancer can allow sufferers to begin treatment before the cancer has had a chance to spread, increasing the odds of survival. Additionally, because HPV is usually spread by skin-to-skin contact during sexual activities, the use of condoms during penetrative sex reduces women's risk of later developing cervical cancer. ISO 25841:2011, Female condoms - Requirements and test methods, sets down minimum requirements and test methods for female condoms, which are thought to be more effective than male condoms in preventing the spread of HPV, due to their larger surface area. This International Standard was developed by International Organization for Standardization (ISO) TC 157, Non-systemic contraceptives and STI barrier prophylactics; ASTM International, an ANSI member and audited designator, serves as the TC's ANSI-approved TAG administrator.

While regular checkups and screenings play an important role in safeguarding health, other healthy behaviors - including eating nutritious meals, exercising regularly, and cutting out smoking, binge drinking, and other unhealthy activities - can also have a significant impact on an individual's health. For many women, making effective use of ingestible vitamins and other supplements at the recommendation of medical professionals can provide significant health benefits. An American National Standard (ANS) developed by NSF International, an ANSI member and audited designator, NSF/ANSI 173-2012, Dietary Supplements, provides requirements for dietary supplements that contain vitamins, minerals, amino acids, herbs, or other botanical elements. The ANS does not cover products represented as foods.

Sufficient, restful sleep is an oft-neglected aspect of good health, particularly in our busy modern world. Lack of sleep can lead to dangerous behaviors, including distracted driving, and has been associated with increased risks of certain medical conditions, such as heart disease. ANSI/ASA S12.9-2008/Part 6, Quantities and Procedures for Description and Measurement of Environmental Sound - Part 6: Methods for Estimating of Awakenings Associated with Outdoor Noise Events Heard in Homes, provides a method for predicting awakenings associated with outdoor noise levels, like those created by aircraft takeoffs and landings. Noise is one of a number of factors that can contribute to insufficient or inadequate sleep, and more accurate measurements of the effects of noise can make it easier to minimize the impact on surrounding residences. ANSI/ASA S12.9-2008/Part 6 was developed by ANSI member and accredited standards developer the Acoustical Society of America (ASA).

For more information about National Women's Health Week, visit the official website. To read a message about National Women's Health Week from U.S. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, click here.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


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Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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