On the 10th-16th of June, the world celebrates National Men’s Health Week. This week’s main goal is to raise awareness of preventable health issues that affect men and focuses on early detection and treatment of diseases.
- Men live 4.4 years less than women because of health risks and must be more careful.
- The top cause of death in men is heart disease.
- Other death causes are cancer, injuries, stroke, HIV, and suicide, which is higher in men.
Prostate cancer is the number one cancer among men in the United States (according to the National Cancer Institute). About 30,000 men die of prostate cancer each year.
Prostate cancer occurs in the prostate, which is a small walnut-shaped gland in men that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm.
Some men are at higher risk than others. These risk factors are age, race, family history, and obesity.
Obesity Among Men
Weight is one of the important factors in men’s health. Men generally carrying weight around the stomach area have an increased risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and some cancers, including kidney, prostate, and bowel cancers. According to an American Cancer Society study, obesity increases the risk of future prostate cancer.
If you have a waist size of over 102 cm (about 40 inches) or if your BMI is higher than 27.5, you are at a higher risk.
Alcohol consumption is higher in men, which risks the general quality of men’s health. Regularly drinking more than 14 units a week risks damaging your health and can contribute to an increased risk of cancers, heart disease, and stroke, liver disease, brain damage, and damage to the nervous system.
To keep health risks low, you should:
- limit the total amount of alcohol drunk
- switch to lower alcohol percentages, like wine or gin-soda
- drink slowly, with food, and alternate with water
Increasing physical activity has potential effects on improving physical and mental health. It also helps to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, improves sleep, helps with stress management, and weight maintenance.
Exercise recommendations for adults are:
- at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, plus muscle-strengthening activities on two days or more of the week.
- OR 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, plus muscle-strengthening activities on two days or more of the week.
- OR a combination of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity every week, plus muscle-strengthening activities on two days or more of the week.
1. Maintain a healthy weight – being overweight or obese is a risk factor.
2. Eat more fiber – add oatmeal, wholewheat pasta or bread, brown rice, beans, and legumes to increase fiber intake.
3. Keep track of your red and processed meat intake – aim to eat red meat less than 2-3 times a week. Instead, add chicken, turkey, and fish.
4. Reduce saturated fat consumption– reduce or cut out packaged foods like biscuits, cakes, pies, chocolate and cream, and fried foods. Choose unsaturated fats, such as avocado, olive, or coconut oil.
5. Eat more fish – try to eat at least two portions of fish a week.
6. Eat more fruit and vegetables – try to eat at least 5 portions of a variety of fruit and vegetables every day.
7. Watch your salt intake – aim for less than 5 grams a day. Check the nutrition label on foods, and don’t add extra salt at the table.
8. Stay active – aim for at least 150 minutes a week of moderate activity.
9. Limit alcohol intake – If you drink alcohol, try to drink no more than 14 units a week, with several alcohol-free days each week.
10. Seek help if you need it – if you are worried about any aspect of your health, don’t keep quiet. Speak to your doctor.