Women's attitudes towards healthy living vary, with older women more likely to take the matter seriously. 'We have observed that middle-aged women with families tend to be more health-conscious. They are more willing to go for health checks and screenings if they can afford it. They make an effort to live healthier by drinking and smoking less,' says Dr Fiona Leung Chi-shan, Baptist Hospital's resident consultant in general surgery, who works at the breast care centre and women's health centre. Young women in their twenties, however, are less mindful, she says. 'They are less likely to pay as much attention to their health; perhaps their youth makes them think and feel that they are invincible.' The convenience of modern life, where everything is but a click or phone call away, has led to a couch-potato culture, resulting in obesity and muscle loss. In more serious instances, this can trigger chronic diseases. Indeed, physical activity should be a core component of every individual's health routine. Health professionals recommend a minimum of 30 minutes' physical activity each day, whether it be a brisk walk, a swim or a run on the treadmill. The need to keep fit is even more important for middle-aged women, as they are at an age when many experience weight gain due to a redistribution of body fat, says Professor Suzanne Ho, director of the Centre of Research and Promotion of Women's Health at Chinese University. 'Weight gain is a factor that increases the risk of a number of conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes and the prevalence of osteoporosis,' she says. As far as health checks are concerned, breast and cervical cancer screenings are among the most common for women. The American Cancer Society recommends all women begin cervical cancer screenings about three years after they become sexually active, but no later than the age of 21. Women over the age of 30, who have had three consecutive normal test results, can then be screened every two to three years. Meanwhile, women with no family history of breast cancer should go for annual mammograms from the age of 40 and continue to do so as long as they are in good health, the society says.