Men's Health Awareness Month
By Olivia Alexander, NYNG Intern & RD-to-be
June is Men’s Health Awareness Month! This month is devoted to bringing awareness to preventable health problems in men. Early detection and treatment of health problems is very important and can prevent you from developing life-altering diseases down the road. Men have a shorter life expectancy than women, partly because they are more likely to avoid the doctor and routine health screens. Men are also more susceptible to certain diseases, such as prostate cancer.
Here are a few tips to keep your health in check this month.
Limit saturated fat. A study was conducted that included an 11-day program in which men followed the Pritikin diet, a low-fat, high plant-based meal plan. Researchers found that when men followed this plan for just 11 days, there was a 20% decrease in serum insulin growth factor. High levels of serum IGF-I are positively correlated with prostate cancer. https://www.ucsfhealth.org/education/nutrition_and_prostate_cancer/ In order to cut your risk, follow these tips.
Choose leaner cuts of meat such as white meat chicken or grilled or baked fish rather than full-fat steak or beef.
Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables each day.
Limit dairy products to 2-3 servings a day.
Watch your waistline: Measuring your waist circumference is an easy tool to assess your health. Carrying extra weight around your abdominal region increases your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/risk.htm
Men’s waist circumference should be less than 40 inches. This can easily be calculated with a tape measurer around the circumference of your abdomen just above your hip bones.
Achieve a healthy body weight: To calculate men’s ideal body weight, start with 106 pounds for the first 5 feet of height, and add 6 additional pounds for each inch over 5 feet. https://www.livestrong.com/article/281134-how-to-calculate-ibw/
For example, a 5’10” man’s ideal body weight would be 166 pounds. Being overweight increases the risk for various health issues. You can drop extra body fat through healthy eating and moderate exercise.
Manage stress levels: Exercise and sleep are two manageable ways to reduce stress levels.
Stay active. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity, such as brisk walking or swimming. Alternately, you can aim for 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity, such as running, per week. Do strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least two times a week.
Get a good night’s sleep. Getting enough sleep each night is important for mood, alertness, and energy level. Adults should aim to sleep for about 7 or more hours per night.
Prevention is a key factor in taking control of your wellbeing. If you are looking for further ways to assess your health, plan a visit with your doctor or Registered Dietitian who can help you come up with a plan.
Men’s Health Awareness Month background: http://www.menshealthmonth.org
Why men have shorter life expectancies: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/why-men-often-die-earlier-than-women-201602199137