Men’s health is an important topic. The more men we can help understand the importance of their health and how they can take care of themselves, the better dads they can be to their children. That’s why it’s one of the 12 sessions in our two primary fatherhood programs, 24/7 Dad® and InsideOut Dad®.
This week is National Men’s Health Week, and it’s also Father’s Day. So naturally, now is an excellent time to provide you with a number of free resources to share with fathers to help them better understand what good health looks like, and how they can be proactive in taking care of their health.
Unfortunately, according to Harvard Medical School, “The average man pays less attention to his health than the average woman. Compared to women, men are more likely to:
- drink alcohol and use tobacco
- make risky choices
- not see a doctor for regular checkups
Many of the major health risks that men face can be prevented with a healthy lifestyle: regular exercise, a healthy diet, not smoking, stress reduction, and alcohol consumption in the moderate range (no more than two drinks a day) if at all. Regular checkups and screening tests can spot disease early, when it is easiest to treat.”
Don’t let the dad’s you serve be “the average man” — help them get on board with protecting their health today with several free resources I’ve outlined below.
Prostate Health and Prostate Cancer
You might think this an odd place for me to begin, seeing that prostate screenings usually don't begin for men until around age 40, and that prostate cancer is rather low in men under 40. But, my father, now 78, was diagnosed with metastatic stage 4 prostate cancer 2 years ago. Unfortunately, when it was discovered, it was already at an advanced-cancer stage. While he is still here with me, I often wonder if his current situation would be any different if it had been detected sooner. It’s never too early to share information with men about prostate screenings so that when it’s time, they have a regular doctor and will be more likely to have it checked.
According to zerocancer.org: “Early detection and advances in treatment are saving lives. Finding prostate cancer when it is still at an early stage offers the best hope for living cancer free for a long time. The most recent research shows the five-year survival rate for all men with prostate cancer is nearly 100 percent. The relative 10-year survival rate is 98 percent, and 96 percent for 15 years”.
Here are 3 tip sheets you can download and “gift” to the fathers you serve:
- 10 Things Everyone Should Know About Prostate Cancer
- 10 Things African Americans Should Know About Prostate Cancer
- 10 Tips for Talking with Your Son About Prostate Cancer
- Prostate Health Playbook
Healthy Blood Pressure
According to Men’s Health, high blood pressure (above 130 systolic--the pressure in your arteries when your heart contracts or 80 diastolic--the pressure between beats), has become an increasing problem in millennials. In 2019, Blue Cross Blue Shield released data from the claims of 55 million people in its Health of Millennials report. One of the most shocking stats: From 2014 to 2017, the prevalence of high blood pressure in people ages 21 to 36 jumped 16 percent, and compared with Gen Xers when they were the same age, high blood pressure among millennials was 10 percent more prevalent.
Further, the Mayo Clinic explains that you can have high blood pressure (hypertension) for years without any symptoms. Even without symptoms, damage to blood vessels and your heart continues and can be detected. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke.
Eating a healthier diet with less salt, exercising regularly, and taking medications can help lower blood pressure.
Free resource: Healthy Blood Pressure for Healthy Hearts: Small Steps To Take Control
A healthy weight can contribute to a normal blood pressure. The key to achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is about a lifestyle that includes healthy eating, regular physical activity, and balancing the calories you consume with the calories your body uses. Fathers must also remember that they are a role model for their children when it comes to making healthy food choices and getting regular exercise.
Ask the fathers you serve if they want their kids to be healthy (show of hands). Then ask them if they think they are leading a healthy lifestyle themselves? Likely, there will be more hands up on the first question than the second. Remind the dads that their children can’t be what they haven’t seen. Modeling healthy eating and exercise habits is a gift they can give themselves—and their children—to help them be healthy.
According to the CDC, people who have obesity, compared to those with a normal or healthy weight, are at increased risk for many serious diseases and health conditions, including the following:
- All-causes of death (mortality)
- High blood pressure (Hypertension)
- High LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides (Dyslipidemia)
- Type 2 diabetes
- Coronary heart disease
- Gallbladder disease
- Osteoarthritis (a breakdown of cartilage and bone within a joint)
- Sleep apnea and breathing problems
- Many types of cancer
- Low quality of life
- Mental illness such as clinical depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders4,5
- Body pain and difficulty with physical functioning
Check out the Rethink Your Drink page for an easy way for dads and kids to cut calories. This is also available as a Brochure.
Also, download the Aim for a Healthy Weight Patient Booklet to share with the dads you serve.
We hope these free resources encourage you take some time to talk with dads about their health. Give them the gift of information and tools for good health for years to come.
Here’s to many more healthy Father’s Days to you (if you’re a father) and to all of the dads you serve!