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. 

5 Comments on Moms are the most important social determinant of health

More People Using Meditation and Yoga as Medicine, Especially Women – Health said : Guest Report 4 days ago

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HealthPopuli.com said : Guest Report 5 days ago

[…] kitchen table wisdom into home care via slow cooking salty hot broths which cross all cultures. [Here in Health Populi, I wrote about Moms as a crucial social determinant of health, mentioning the healing power of chicken […]

Moms Are The Most Important Social Determinant Of Health - Google Healthy Life said : Guest Report 3 years ago

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Jane said : administrator Report 4 years ago

Jennifer B, thanks for your comment on this Mother's Day. Yes, I did read the AARP study and there are many facets to it. You pulled out one finding, but the over-arching issue has to do with the burden of caregiving -- which is an economically un-recognized facet of health/care in America. See this post which quantifies the economics of the issue, especially for women: https://healthpopuli.com/2012/12/14/call-them-hidden-direct-or-discretionary-health-care-costs-are-a-growing-burden-on-u-s-consumers/ Thanks for reading the blog today - and for your observation...of course, women in the 60s, 70s and beyond are productive people! If you read Health Populi over the past 7.5 years of posts, you'll see our philosophy is can-do when it comes to life and health...take care...JSK

Jennifer B said : Guest Report 4 years ago

Caring for a 60 year old mother? Really? That's silly It t sounds like you didn't read the AARP study - providing care for a few days for someone who has surgery hardly is the same as a full time care-giver. Perhaps if we had less unnecessary hysterectomy's at that age this number would change. Most women I know in their 60's are still very active or even working and not in need of care. Hillary Clinton for example is 67 and running for President but I am not surprised AARP would spread a myth about older women need care by 60 but I am surprised you didn't source the research better.

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