Mums, welcome to Men’s Health Week.
Though this week has traditionally been set aside for men to remember their health, to take some ‘me-time’, and to reassess their personal priorities – I actually think this week is just as much for the women as it is for the men!
We as wives, sisters, Mums and grandmothers have a significant role to play in helping improve the wellbeing of the men in our lives. We know they’re generally not as likely to visit the GP as we are – or keep on top of regular self-health checks.
So as much as this week is about men getting motivated to better their quality of life – subtly, it’s also about us as women doing what we can to encourage our sons, our husbands and our fathers to take the necessary steps to improve their overall health and wellbeing.
We’re seeing alarming trends in the health of the average Aussie male. The latest statistics from the Australian Health Survey show more than 13 per cent of Australian men drink alcohol at long-term risky levels and more than 95 per cent don’t consume enough fruits and vegetables.
The survey also showed 70 per cent of Australian men are currently overweight or obese, compared to 56 per cent of Australian women.
When it comes to life expectancy, men are trailing behind women – the average Aussie male lives to 78 years, while the average woman can expect to live to 82 years.
Unfortunately, the survival rate for men after a cancer diagnosis is lower too –the five year survival rate for men is 66 per cent, below the survival rate for women which is 70 per cent.
So how can we gently remind (read: not nag!) the men in our life to do better for their health? What lifestyle changes can we support them to make, to reduce their risk of cancer?
Here are just a few:
You can support the men in your life to quit smoking. Call QUIT, 13 7848, for information and advice on effectively quitting smoking, and supporting a loved one to quit.
Encourage the men in your life to check their bodies regularly for changes, to visit their GP and to participate in recommended screening.
Diet and exercise
Small, simple lifestyle adjustments can be made to ensure men meet the recommended physical activity requirements and dietary requirements.
Visit your GP to diet, and get the family involved with physical activity – aiming for 60 minutes a day. It’s also important to look at ways men can reduce their alcohol intake.
It seems simple – but getting in the habit of Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide is crucial in reducing your risk of skin cancer – here in Queensland, we have the highest rates in the world.
More information about reducing your risk of cancer is available at www.cancerqld.org.au/page/prevention.
You can share the Men’s Health Week message with your man via Facebook too – head on over to our Cancer Council Queensland Facebook poll – vote in and share it with the men in your life to raise awareness here!
Happy Men’s Health Week – here’s to all the Mums (and men), and to better health!