This month marks the awareness of Men’s Health, with global men’s charity Movember. Yet again they’ve unleashed their signature moustache initiative in a bid to raise awareness of three leading causes of premature male mortality – testicular cancer, prostate cancer and suicide.
Sadly, it’s been documented that men generally tend to live shorter lives than women.
A recent article by the Kings Fund revealed that life expectancy for men in 2019 was 79.9 years, compared with 83.6 years in women.
So, why the difference? One recent Harvard piece listed a number of reasons that generally identified why men might live a shorter life:
There are also further preventative lifestyle factors that could lead to a shortened lifespan such as smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and a poor diet.
Research from the British Nutrition Foundation looks at a Health Service England report from 2018 says approximately 70% of men aged 16 and over were obese or overweight.
Nutrition and obesity have been a longstanding feature in the news, with the rise in people who are overweight and malnourished showing staggering figures.
The World Health Organization reports the worldwide prevalence of obesity has likely increased threefold between 1975 and 2016.
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention list some of the most common complications men may suffer from being overweight. They are:
Making just a small change could potentially have a huge impact on a man’s physical and mental health.
Nutrition Supporting Men’s Health
Eating the right food is key to getting the nutrients needed to make chemical energy to power the body, as well as playing important roles as the drivers of the body’s 1000s of daily reactions.
Taking in the right nutrients fuels your body and complements the many reactions occurring inside you.
The average male should consume 2000 calories per day, made up of the different food groups.
The top recommendations to improve and maintain a healthy nutritional balance are to:
Eat more fruit and vegetables as only 1 in 3 men consume their five-a-day on average.
Consume less salt, 6g a day is the recommended daily intake for an adult male. This could help to reduce the potential risk of high blood pressure, which could result in heart disease or stroke.
Vary sources of protein. The recommendation for an adult man is 0.75g per kg of their bodyweight a day.
Whilst red meats can be a good source of protein, as well as iron and zinc, it is recommended to limit it three times a week as it has been linked to an increased risk of bowel cancer.
Oily fish, such as salmon and mackerel, are great sources of protein and contain testosterone supporting Omega 3s too.
Dairy products such as milk, yoghurt and cheese can also good sources of protein when eaten in moderation.
Nuts, chickpeas, grains, wild rice, soya, tofu and eggs are other foods packed in protein.
There are other ways of supporting the body to provide the power and fuel it needs to keep you at your best.
Oral supplementation can help to ensure your body is getting all the essential vitamins and nutrients it requires in a tablet or liquid form for convenience.
For a direct approach to supplementation vitamin IV drip therapy and intramuscular booster shots can deliver vitamins, antioxidants, hydration and electrolytes directly into the bloodstream enabling faster absorption.
Exercise for a Positive Lifestyle
Men should be exercising for 150 minutes a week, according to the American College of Sports Medicine.
This should be moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, or something that raises your heart rate to 50-75% of its maximum.
Moderate intensity could be a brisk walk, a steady bicycle ride or even mowing the lawn.
In addition to this, including 20 minutes of vigorous intensity exercise three times a week, raising your pulse to 70-85% of its maximum rate could be beneficial.
Vigorous intensity exercises such as swimming laps, a run or aerobic dancing.
Exercise isn’t just good for your physical health, it’s also good for mental health too.
Regular exercise releases dopamine and endorphins, two of the body’s happy chemicals essential to boost mood.
Some progress has been achieved in getting men to embrace supporting their mental health but there is still so much to be done as traditional masculine roles in society are still prevalent and are the main blocker for men seeking help.
Movember encourages men to not just talk about their own feelings, but to listen to what their male friends have to say as well.
Australian mental health movement ‘R U OK?’ Has developed their ALEC initiative – asking, listening, encouraging action and checking in.
While JAAQ (Just Ask A Question), a new ‘mental health social media’ platform encourages active conversation and offer support using AI technology.
They are bringing anyone using their services in touch with mental health expert or they can access their carefully crafted catalogue of 50,000 questions and answers.
Founder Danny Gray and Professor Paul Gilbert advise that whilst not replacing talking therapy, JAAQ may provide a cutting-edge way of getting those uncomfortable talking about their feelings.
As the Global Health & Wellbeing Survey has concluded, a healthy man is not only physically fit, but someone who has healthy coping mechanisms in response to stress, knows when to speak up when struggling and has a strong social connectivity network to encourage supporting each other.