This week I join the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in recognizing National Women's Health Week, which seeks to raise awareness of the state of women's health in our country. The week of May 13th, communities, businesses, governments, health organizations, and other groups come together to promote women's health. This year's theme is "It's Your Time,", emphasizing the importance of women's empowerment to make their health a top priority and take the necessary steps to improve their mental and physical health as well as lower the risk of certain common diseases.
Today, there are more than 154 million women living in the United States, 13.5 percent of them have fair or poor health, 17 percent smoke, 33 percent have hypertension, and 36 percent are obese. In addition, 16 percent of all females under the age of 65 are uninsured. The leading causes of death among women are cancer, stroke, and heart disease, with 300,000 women dying of heart disease annually. Lastly, more than 500 women die every year of complications of pregnancy, childbirth, or puerperium.
Many of these tragedies are preventable with healthier lifestyles, regular checkups, and preventive screenings. Overall, our nation loses over 5,000 years of potential life due to various diseases every year. Apart from the personal tragedy of losing a loved one, these lost years have an enormous effect on our economy, costing millions of dollars every year. That is why as part of National Women's Health Week, we also celebrate National Women's Checkup Day to encourage women to participate in preventive care through checkups and screenings.
Both women and men play a role in improving women's health. Women often serve as caregivers for their families, putting the needs of their spouses, partners, children, and parents before their own. It is our responsibility and in our interest to help them take the right steps toward a longer, healthier, and happier life. These are some of the reasons why I am a proud co-sponsor of many health and women's related bills, such as the Breast Cancer Patient Protection Act, the Mobile Mammography Promotion Act, and the Violence Against Women Health Initiative Act.
This week, I encourage all women to take charge of their health and all Americans to provide them efficient support to do so, as it is in all of our interest as individuals and as a nation to support women's health. I will continue to work in Congress to promote a healthier future for the women of our nation.