Men’s Health Week is observed every year leading up to Father’s Day as a reminder to take steps to live a healthier life. 12% of men ages 18 and older are considered in fair or poor health in the US. Men are more likely than women to smoke and drink, make unhealthy or risky choices, and put off regular checkups and medical care. You can help support the men in your life, or yourself, by making healthier decisions and creating healthier habits. These habits include:
· Eating healthy, including a lot of fruits and vegetables in your diet. Be sure to eat foods rich in vitamins and nutrients that may help protect from chronic diseases. Limit foods and drinks high in fats, sugars, calories, salt, and alcohol.
· Practice regular physical activity. Adults should aim for at least 2.5 hours of activity a week. This can help regulate weight, reduce risk of heart disease and some cancers, and improve your mood and energy levels.
· Quit smoking and limit alcohol intake. Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits. You will lower your risk of cancers and will no longer expose others to second-hand smoke. And if you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. High levels of alcohol can increase blood pressure which increases chances of heart attack or stroke.
· Stay up to date on regular doctor checkups and seek medical care. Certain diseases and conditions may not have obvious symptoms, so it is important to have regular checkups to help identify issues early on. It is important for men (and women) to understand their family history and inform their doctors.
· Reduce and manage stress. If you or the men in your life are constantly on edge or feel under pressure, their lifestyle habits may suffer and so may their immune system. Take steps to reduce stress or learn how to manage it in a healthier way.
Understanding health risks is one thing but taking action to reduce those risks is another. Start today by making healthier choices for a healthier life!
*information provided by cdc.gov and medlineplus.gov