mothers day_finalIt’s Mother’s Day 2015, so it’s time to praise moms and their role in making health: in their families, in their communities, and long-overlooked, for themselves.

Mothers play a defining role in driving health in the world. Moms may be the most important social determinant of health.

The National Partnership for Women & Families advocates for the role of women in building a healthy society, broadly defined. From the womb via the Childbirth Connection and Reproductive Health through economic security (such as fair wages and paid maternity leave) and women’s ability to access health information on behalf of their families and themselves, women’s health engagement drives healthier health outcomes.

Social science research consistently demonstrates the crucial role that the mother plays in the well-being of her children and family. Recent studies highlight how mothers’ parenting, relationship status and stability, and own well-being are correlated with the welfare of their families,” the Heritage Foundation notes

In addition to the obvious womb-capital a woman provides her baby in utero, women are caregivers throughout their life cycle. The AARP has determined that 2 in 3 caregivers are female, and that the average caregiver is a 49 year old married, working woman, caring for her 60 year old mother who does not live with her. While men also provide assistance, female caregivers may spend as much as 50% more time providing care than male caregivers.

4 in 5 women manage their family’s health, shown by the mScripts study infographic above. Furthermore, caregiving moms are mobile: women are 2.8 times more likely to manage kids’ health via mobile platforms.

I wrote more about the Chief Health Officer, Women, in the Huffington Post here.

This Mother’s Day, tell the moms you know how much you appreciate them — as Mom, and as the invaluable and under-appreciated Chief Health Officer of their family.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  The Wall Street Journal published a column this week titled, “When Your Wisest Professional Mentor is… Mom.” As both daughter and mother, I resonated with several of the core message in Lindsay Gellman‘s piece. Gellman wrote, “Mothers are more likely than fathers to serve as mentors to their young adult children. Women in general are more likely than men to mentor anyone, male or female, according to a 2010 study” by Catalyst.”

And sometimes, Ilene Lang former president and CEO of Catalyst, told Gellman that moms’ challenge is separating being ‘there’ for professional advice versus being there for that much-needed hug.

Polly and Jane cropped enhanced 5-9-15Of course, it’s both, and that hug also mitigates certain health risks — infection and stress among them, found by Carnegie-Mellon researchers.

Happy, Healthy Mother’s Day 2015 to moms everywhere. And to my own beloved mum Polly, whose hugs were even more therapeutic than her magnificent chicken soup.