Men’s Health Week 2019. Health by Numbers: Know the facts, take positive action.

June 1, 2019

June sees the issue of men’s health hitting the headlines. Men’s Health Month originated in the US and has become a global focus with associations in countries all over the world. Men’s Health Week is held in the run up to Father’s Day each year but is aimed at getting the health care message across to men of all ages, from young boys through to the over 65s

This year it will be from the 10th to the 16th of June 2019, with the theme of Health by Numbers, with the aim of getting men familiar with the health numbers they need to know. Being aware of health issues and how you can take action, could help a lot of these figures change for the better.

For example:

  • One in five men die before the age of 65.
  • 75% of premature deaths from heart disease are male.
  • Middle aged men are twice as likely to have diabetes as women.
  • Four out of five suicides are male.

Men are also more likely to smoke and smoke more, eat too much salt and red meat, with a lower intake of fresh fruit and vegetables and increased alcohol intake. By putting the facts and figures out there, it is hoped that men of all ages, along with their families will take a self-care approach and look make a difference to the health factors that can be changed.

Science may not have all the answers as to why some of the numbers stack up differently between the sexes, but it is known that diet and lifestyle trends and habits play a role. By being aware of the traps we fall into and bad habits we develop over time, can help us take steps to make the changes we need.

We are constantly hearing about healthy eating and getting a wider range of foods into a daily diet. It is now becoming easier to get healthier foods when out and about and even fast food outlets are aiming to offer salads and vegetarian/vegan options. Just a simple choice of a bowl of porridge and fruit over a big fry up breakfast can have positive changes. Oats are not only filling and a good source of energy, they contain soluble and insoluble fibre, which has been shown to help maintain a healthy cholesterol level. Top with a variety of fresh fruit, especially blue and red berries and you have added a supply of protective antioxidants too!

Simple changes soon add up and becoming aware of your health and the issues you may face, can hep you discover the steps you can take to have an impact. In a world where more and more of us are working from home or sitting at a keyboard all day, it is easy to miss out on even simple movement. Maybe your travel to work has been eliminated completely, so even the ten minute walk has vanished from your day.

Take time out for a walk, time away from screens, noise, pollution and a way of connecting with the natural environment.

If you are office or home-office, bound take frequent breaks and still aim to get outside for some fresh air at lunch time. Daylight plays an important role in our mental health, it can stimulate serotonin, endorphins (happy hormones) and mitochondrial activity to name a few. Forestry England say that more than half the population of England lives within six miles of one of its sites. They are encouraging people to take time out for a walk in the forest, time away from screens, noise, pollution and a way of connecting with the natural environment.

Researchers at the University of Michigan found that taking group nature walks were associated with a whole host of mental health and general well-being issues. The study included nearly 2000 people who were part of England’s Walking for Health programme. The conclusions found that it wasn’t just mental health that benefited, other areas such as weigh management, stronger bones, better cardiovascular health and reduced stress levels were all areas that could improve too.

Improving your diet, lifestyle and outlook can all have a positive and significant effect on your health, but can supplements help you along too? Good nutrition underpins god health, if you can’t get everything you need from your diet, maybe supplementation is the next step.

Magnesium is a mineral involved in over 300 processes in the body, so it is easy to see why it could hard to get enough in a diet. Used for processes such as normal psychological function as well as the reduction of tiredness and fatigue, if you feel you could do with some support in these areas a Magnesium supplement is a good idea. It works well when combined with a B Complex, B vitamins being used for normal function of the nervous system.

Making simple and positive dietary changes can have a big impact on your overall wellbeing.

Science is discovering that much of our good health is derived from us having a healthy gut flora, a healthy balance of the good bacteria that helps keep the gut clean, digest foods and support many other body systems such as the immune system.

Look for fermented foods such as kefir, sauerkraut and live yoghurt. Look for ‘grown up’ soft drinks such as kombucha, a fermented ‘tea’ that is rich in good bacteria and makes a great alternative to alcohol if you are looking to reduce your intake.

Maybe you are not keen on fermented foods or feel you are not eating them regularly enough the slightly sour often fizzy taste and texture can take some getting used to. As an alternative, you can take a supplement providing a range of good bacteria. Taken daily, they help to repopulate the gut and create a balanced system. Look for room temperature stable formulations and once that provide a good range of evidence-based bacteria.

Research suggests that men report taking part in more exercise than women, but further research suggests that the levels of actual physical activity may be far lower for men and women than actually self-reported.  If you are talking part in physical exercise, it is important to make sure you are giving the body the fuel to take part and to recover from exertion. Consider amino acid supplements, protein powders and electrolyte balancing formulations. Over training can cause its own health issues, so if your aim is to get fit, then prepare your body to cope.

Awareness is the key you need to unlock your good health and be alerted to potential health issues.

It would appear that all is not equal when it comes to male and female health, awareness is the key you need to unlock your good health and be alerted to potential health issues. Take the opportunity of Men’s Health Week to give yourself an MOT and see what you could be doing to make a healthier and happier you. Encourage a partner and your family to join in and get healthy together. Why not get together with a few friends or colleagues and work together. Small steps can make a big difference, when we do it with some accountability to a partner or friend, we are more likely to succeed.

Make this June the month you take not of the numbers and do your bit to change your own health statistics. If you are involved in any areas that promote awareness of men’s health, you might like these free posters available from Mens Health Forum.

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