Is your health your center of gravity?

Written by Karen Price on October 23, 2016

Is your health your center of gravity?

Dr. Vonda Wright believes that health is the center of gravity for everyone, whether you are or aspire to be a professional athlete or you just want to perform well at your job, take care of your family or set a new PR in the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon.

If everything’s in line and you’re in good health, you’re not going to be pulled in any one direction. If not, whether you have the flu, high blood sugar, diabetes or another condition, part of your energy has to go toward just getting through the day. Your job, family, exercise and other priorities have to settle for what’s left.

“We need to be concerned about health, but usually people do it in a passive way,” Wright said. “Until our health gets bad, people aren’t going to pay attention but we need to be purposeful in the decisions we make about our minds and bodies because 70 percent of how we age is due to the decisions we make today. We’re very powerful in our own health.”

Dr. Wright started an annual conference called Women’s Health Conversations in 2012 to get women thinking, learning and talking about those very decisions. Not only do women make 80 to 90 percent of the decisions when it comes to their health and the health of their family, Wright said, but magazines and the internet are full of articles and advice from people who aren’t health professionals and haven’t been vetted as reliable sources of information.

This year’s conference takes place November 4th and 5th at the August Wilson Center in downtown Pittsburgh.

Wright, who is not only an orthopedic surgeon at UPMC but also specializes in fitness for adults over 40, has authored a number of books and has been interviewed and quoted regularly in national publications and television programs, has gathered an impressive list of panelists for this year’s conference.

Friday’s program will include topics ranging from “The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: When Estrogen Starts to Walk Out the Door“ to FREE Food: In a World of Fat-Free, Gluten-Free, and Food Bound Up in Genetic Manipulation… What’s a Woman to Do?” to beauty, brain health, home workouts, sleep and stress management and the latest on heart health and cancer.

Saturday’s program, although still appropriate for women middle-aged and older, will examine topics of particular interest to millenials. It’s an age group on which Wright has focused a great deal of time and research on lately because, she said, “There are more than 77 million of them and they live very differently than we do, but we don’t know, as health professionals, what they want.”

Saturday will focus on three trends. One is that the word “health” isn’t adequate anymore, Wright said, because to millenials it’s about more than just diet and exercise and includes how they feel and act, and it definitely includes mental health. The second is that millenials want prevention, not prescription, Wright said, and the fact that many don’t trust the health care system as it stands today. The third focus will be on sex, fertility, reproductive innovation and social policy.

P3R CEO and marathon race director Patrice Matamoros will be one of the panelists on Saturday for a discussion entitled, “Can Sports Save Society?”

For more information or to register, visit Anyone who registers before Oct. 20 will get 20 percent off with the code WHCFriends. There is also a special program on Thursday, Nov. 2, called HOT for Your Health that will feature some of the most groundbreaking medical technology and innovation. Tickets may be purchased separately for that event.