Top Ten Health Concerns for Men

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Quincy L. Cheek

Through five years of experience with the LSU AgCenter, I have come to find that one of the hardest audiences to reach when it comes to nutrition and health is the male population.  I firmly believe that most area physicians would agree.  Spouses and significant others often joke about how their male counterparts avoid going to the physician’s office like the plague!  In a study of 1,100 men conducted in 2007 by the American Academy of Family Physicians 36% said “I only go to the doctor if I am extremely sick.”  Another 12% claimed “I don’t have time to go to the doctor.”  Based on the last claim I feel it is important to point out the study revealed that the men surveyed also reported watching an average of 19 hours of television per week. 

 According to Pennington Biomedical Research Center in Baton Rouge, LA there are 10 health threats that men should be concerned about.  The chart below reveals the rankings, health threats, and percentage of deaths per year based on 2004 Centers for Disease Control findings.

Rank Health Threat Percentage of Male Deaths
1 Heart Disease 28.4
2 Cancer 24.1
3 Unintentional Injuries/Accidents 5.8
4 Stroke 5.2
5 Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (Copd) 5.1
6 Diabetes 2.8
7 Influenza 2.4
8 Suicide 2.1
9 Kidney Disease 1.6
10 Chronic Liver Disease & Cirrhosis 1.5
Total   79

 

With the exception of stroke, men are affected more by the above health threats than women.  With that said, it is important to point out that the average life expectancy of men is 5.4 years less than the average women.  This article is in no way intended to “pick on” men, but to give them some clues as to what they should be aware of when it comes to their health and to briefly elaborate on the top three health threats to men. 

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women.  One quarter of all heart-disease-related deaths occur in men ages 35-65.  Cutting back on saturated fat in the diet can be a good way to ward off this type of chronic disease.  Adding regular exercise (at least 30-60 minutes) to your daily routine is also a step in the right direction. 

Cancer in men is very prominent in the state of Louisiana with lung cancer being the most common cause of death, followed by prostate and colorectal cancers.  Attending regularly scheduled check-ups and following through with routine cancer screenings is crucial to early detection and treatment.  In addition to this, eating a diet that is high in fruits and vegetables may play a role in preventing many forms of cancer.  Fruits and vegetables not only provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber but also contribute to low-fat, low-calorie meals. 

Deaths occurring by accident kill twice as many men than women in the United States each year.  Automobile accidents are the leading cause of death, followed by poisoning, falls, and drowning.  Workplace accidents are a significant cause of fatal injury to men because of the more dangerous nature of some occupations predominantly held by males such as agriculture, mining, and construction.  Safety of employees is primarily important at any workplace irrespective of the fact whether it is an office, factory or a construction site.  Adhering to safety guidelines and worksite health policies in place at the worksite can greatly decrease the number of accidents that may take place. 

For more information on men’s health issues, go to www.lsuagcenter.com or contact Quincy Cheek, FCS Nutrition Agent at (318) 767-3966.