With National Men’s Health Week June 13-19 and Father’s Day on June 19, the month of June has become synonymous with men’s health. So take a cue from your calendar and help the men in your life — fathers, brothers, friends, partners, sons — take better care of themselves.
Not sure how to nudge the men in your life to spend some time on their health? Here are some good places to start.
- Move those muscles
According to the U.S. government’s 2014 National Health Interview Survey, about 53 percent of men over the age of 18 met the federal physical activity guidelines for aerobic activity during their leisure-time activities. That means nearly half of U.S. men aren’t getting enough exercise. As we know, exercise reaps loads of benefits, including strengthening bones; reducing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and some cancers; and improving mood and mental health. Help inactive men get exercise by offering to join them for a bike ride or a walk around the neighborhood.
- Eat smart
More than a third (34.5 percent) of U.S. men over the age of 20 are obese, according to National Center for Health Statistics data from 2011-2014. Being overweight and obese increase the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, osteoarthritis and some cancers. To help your guy keep his weight in check, share these calorie-cutting recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
- Eat foods high in fiber
- Pay attention to portion sizes
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Don’t ignore the “hidden” calories in beverages
- Keep stress under control
Most of us experience stress from time to time, but some common stress-relief outlets, including alcohol consumption, could be causing more harm than good. Men are more likely than women to drink alcohol excessively, and according to the CDC, about 23 percent of men report binge drinking five times per month.Excessive alcohol use boosts the risk of injury and death from car crashes and assault. Alcohol use can also contribute to impotence and infertility and is a risk factor for some cancers. Steer men toward healthier stress busters, such as exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep, spending time with friends and family and making time for hobbies and other fun activities.
- Keep tabs on health
According to data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, heart disease and cancer are the top causes of death for men in the United States. The good news: Healthy habits cut the risk of both diseases. Medications can also help control high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which are risk factors for heart disease. Men can also reduce their risk of both heart disease and cancer by making healthy lifestyle choices (like getting enough physical activity and eating a balanced diet). Regular doctor visits are also key for diagnosing diseases early and getting any health concerns under control.
- Don’t ignore “man problems”
Erectile dysfunction affects approximately 40 percent of men over 40 and nearly 70 percent of men in their 70s. Not only does the problem impact self-esteem and quality of life, but sometimes men’s sexual problems are linked to undiagnosed health conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes. The Men’s Clinic at UCLA is dedicated to treating conditions that impact men’s urologic, sexual and reproductive health with discretion and sensitivity. Learn more about The Men’s Clinic at UCLA.
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