Washington, DC – As Men’s Health Week begins, the DC Department of Health (DOH) is encouraging District men to take the steps that will help protect and improve their health. Men’s Health Week is an important annual occurrence that begins the week before Father’s Day, and serves as a way to increase awareness of the basic precautions that can help ensure a healthy lifestyle and status. The male community has seen a steady increase in chronic health conditions that drastically shorten the lifespan of many males, both young and old. Men’s Health week is an effective way to promote health education, raise awareness and help improve the overall health and well-being of men.
Over the past several years, heart disease, cancer, injuries, stroke, HIV/AIDS and diabetes have claimed the lives of many men. According to the Men’s Health Network, on average, men live 5 years less than women and 1 and 6 men will get prostate cancer, and approximately 28,000 men will die from the disease this year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sited in 2002, 340,933 men died from heart disease, which is considered the leading cause of death for men in the United States. In addition, men die at higher rates than women from the top ten causes of death, and are victims of over 92% of all workplaces deaths.
“It is important for men to seek the proper care needed in order to avoid an early death, and this starts with the basics; routine check-ups, eating healthy, moving more and knowing your family history,” said Dr. Pierre Vigilance, Director of DOH. “Encouraging men to become more aware of their own health status can impact the prevalence of diseases like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and stroke, which account for some of the leading causes of males deaths in the US.”
According to 2007 data from the District of Columbia Preventable Cause of Death Report, 16.6 percent of all preventable deaths in DC were related to tobacco use, and 15.1 percent had been attributed to poor diet and physical inactivity. With the help of smoking cessation programs, regular check-ups and physical activity, many men can greatly reduce their chances of lung cancer, heart disease, and overweight and obesity.
10 Tips to Improve Men’s Health
- Learn Your Family Health History: Knowing history can determine risk of developing heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or cancer.
- Know and Understand your Numbers: Keep track of blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, body mass index (BMI) numbers, and more. These numbers can reveal health status, and show risk for certain diseases and conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity
- Get Check-Ups: Some diseases and conditions may not have obvious symptoms, so it is important to be get screened for potentially health hazardous illnesses
- Get Vaccinated: It is common for adults to assume that the vaccines they received as children will protect them as they get older. However, immunity can fade over time and adults can become more susceptible to disease; some adults were never vaccinated, and newer vaccines might not have been available when some adults were children.
- Gear Up: When playing sports and being active, use the right protective gear necessary to ensure safe physical activity, and always wear a seat belt as a driver and a passenger
- Eat What Counts: Limit foods and drinks that are high in sugar, salt, calories, fat and alcohol. Consume fruits and vegetables on a daily basis and choose healthy snacks to eat.
- Get Physical Activity: Exercise, and be active for at least 2 ½ hours a week. This should include activities that strengthen muscles, and raise both breathing and heart rates.
- Be Smoke-Free: Avoid smoking and secondhand smoke.
- Keep Boys and Young Men Healthy: Encourage kids to be active at least one hour each day, stay up-to-date on pre-teen vaccines, wear seatbelts, helmets, and properly restrain all children ages 12 or younger in the back seat. Also teach adolescent boys and girls to be respectful, so that they learn how to establish and maintain positive and healthy relationships.
By establishing healthy living and eating habits, men can improve their overall health and ensure they live longer, safer, and healthier lives. For more information on Men’s Health and Men’s Health week, visit www.cdc.gov/men.