A fishing pole or a new tie may be traditional Father’s Day gifts, but experts say another important gift could be a conversation with the men in your life about taking control of their own health.
Time spent caring for and providing for their families can lead many men to neglect their own health-care needs, said Brandon Leonard, director of strategic initiatives for the Men’s Health Network.
“Men need to take responsibly for their own health,” he said, “so that they can be there for the birthdays and the graduations and the weddings, and so that they can enjoy life with their family and with their friends as well.”
Leonard said prevention is the best medicine, and habits developed now will have a huge impact on what happens later in life. As part of Men’s Health Week, he encouraged men to get regular doctor checkups and think about their risk factors for problems such as heart disease, different types of cancer and diabetes.
Men of all ages need to focus on getting regular exercise and good nutrition, Leonard said.
“Getting plenty of fruits and vegetables, and whole grains and lean proteins,” he said, “and really making a conscious decision to cut back on things like junk food – cut back on the sweets, cut back on the fried foods – because those are certainly going to have an impact on your health down the road.”
As men age, Leonard said, it’s important that they keep an eye on their blood pressure and cholesterol levels and get regular screenings for certain types of cancer.
“Continuing to look at things like prostate cancer, colorectal cancer,” he said, “and men are also dealing sometimes with urinary tract issues; enlarged prostate can become an issue at that point.”
Leonard said cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of men in the United States – and for women as well.
More information is online at menshealthnetwork.org.