06/15/2020 National Men’s Health Week: 5 Healthy Habits for Men

Allison Walsh, Social Media Strategist

National Men’s Health Week: 5 Healthy Habits for Men

National Men’s Health Week: 5 Healthy Habits Men Should Adopt to Lead a Healthier Life

 

June is Men’s Health Month. It is also the month of summer, sunshine, flowers, and Father’s Day!  (Happy Father's Day!)

This is a great time to remind the men in our lives that taking care of themselves and their health needs to be a top priority because sadly, men's life expectancy across all races in the United States is five years younger than women on average.[1]

 

There are a lot of ways we can encourage the men we love to be healthier. Here are our top 5 suggestions for healthy habits to include in their lives.

 

1. Get a yearly physical

 

Many ailments that end up prematurely taking men’s lives are preventable and easily identified by a physician. Men in the United States visit their primary doctors at a much lower rate than adult women.[2] 

 

By engaging in preventative care, doctors will screen men for a variety of risk factors. Setting a baseline and treating health issues before they get worse is one of the best ways to keep men healthy.

 

At a physical, doctors may order a variety of blood tests and other screenings, including:[3]

 

  • Blood pressure screening
  • Cholesterol screening
  • Blood glucose screening
  • Osteoporosis screening
  • Body Mass Index (BMI)

 

These tests may uncover underlying conditions such as heart disease or diabetes, even if they aren’t exhibiting any symptoms.

 

2.Engage in regular physical activity

 

Being active is not a new idea, but it is an important one. Regular physical activity has many medical benefits including keeping weight down, reducing the risk of heart disease and even some cancers.

 

For men who have stress and anxiety, exercise and movement can also help to improve their mood. Health experts recommend an average of 30 minutes of physical activity a day.[4]

 

3. Eat a large and varied diet of healthy foods

 

Forming healthy eating habits is one way that men can keep themselves healthy. According to the National Institute of Health, obesity and being overweight together are the second leading cause of preventable death, ahead of tobacco use which comes in third. There are an estimated 300,000 deaths a year due to the obesity epidemic.[5]

 

Choosing to indulge in pizza, red meat, and processed foods on a regular basis can clog arteries and lead to catastrophic health problems. That’s not to say that pizza and hamburgers are off the table, just that they should be considered a once-in-awhile treat instead of a daily or even weekly indulgence.

 

Healthy foods to choose instead include whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, nuts, and seeds.[6] Limit foods that include saturated fats such as fried foods and high fat meats.

 

The best way to make sure men get the healthy foods they need to help them fight off disease, and lower cholesterol is to make healthy eating a habit.

 

A few habits to build into an everyday routine include:

 

  • At least 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables each day
  • Whole grains each day. Try replacing refined grains such as sugary cereal and white bread with oats and whole-grain bread.
  • 38 grams of fiber per day for younger men; 30 grams of fiber per day for men older than 50
  • Two to three servings of fish per week
  • Oils, nuts, and oil-based salad dressing instead of butters and high-fat sweets[7]

4. Take care of mental health

 

Mental health can still carry a stigma in the United States today, which makes it an especially important topic to address. Suicide is a leading cause of death in men. Depression and anxiety can leave men feeling alone and vulnerable. In 2018, men died by suicide 3.56x more often than women and white males accounted for 69.67% of suicide deaths in 2018.[8]

 

Knowing the warning signs of mental disorders and stress can help men and their loved ones identify if they need to seek help. While there is a large range of symptoms regarding mental health, a few important ones include:[9]

 

  • Anger, irritability
  • Noticeable changes in mood and energy levels
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Increased worry or anxiety
  • Misuse of alcohol and/or drugs

 

Recognizing these symptoms and getting treatment can help save a life. The earlier treatments start, the more effective they can be. Identifying and addressing mental health concerns in men is equally important to monitoring physical symptoms.

5. Set an example for family

 

One way to make healthy living a daily choice rather than a passing fad is to engage the entire family. Making the choice to eat healthy, visit the doctor, and exercise can feel difficult for men who feel healthy and invincible, but when it is reframed as a way to set a strong, healthy example for their family, it becomes an easier choice to make.

 

For Father’s Day this year, choose to adopt the healthy habits that help raise happy and healthy kids. Make your choices an example for those you love. The CDC recommends the following tips to help raise healthy and happy families.[10]

 

  1. Provide healthy meals and snacks
  2. Keep your kids active
  3. Live a smoke-free life
  4. Teach your kids healthy habits
  5. Provide love and support

 

Making the healthy choices isn't just for Men's Health Awareness week. It is a choice that men need to make every day to ensure they stay health, set an example for their family, and go on to live a long, healthy life.

1-Duffin, E. (2019, September 20). Life expectancy in North America 2019. Retrieved June 16, 2020, from https://www.statista.com/statistics/274513/life-expectancy-in-north-america/

2-Center for Disease Control and Prevention, U. (n.d.). Health, United States (2017 ed., Vol. May, Rep.). doi:https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/hus/hus16.pdf#077

3-Your Annual Physical and Why It's Important. (n.d.). Retrieved June 16, 2020, from https://www.virtua.org/articles/your-annual-physical-and-why-its-important

4-(n.d.). Retrieved June 16, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/features/healthymen/index.html

5-(n.d.). Retrieved June 16, 2020, from https://www.wvdhhr.org/bph/oehp/obesity/mortality.htm

6-Hayes, A. (2019, August 22). 31 Easy Ways to Eat Healthier. Retrieved June 16, 2020, from https://www.menshealth.com/uk/nutrition/g28746813/healthy-snacks/

7-Ellis, E. (n.d.). Healthy Eating for Men. Retrieved June 16, 2020, from https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/healthy-aging/healthy-eating-for-men

8-Suicide statistics. (2020, May 14). Retrieved June 16, 2020, from https://afsp.org/suicide-statistics

9-Men and Mental Health. (n.d.). Retrieved June 16, 2020, from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/men-and-mental-health/index.shtml

10-Tips for Raising Safe and Healthy Kids - Family Health - CDC. (2014, February 05). Retrieved June 16, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/family/parenttips/index.htm



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