It’s Men’s Health Week…Are You Rockin’ it?

Lisa Fisher, Health Promotion Specialist

Canadian Men’s Health Week is upon us! Running from June 10-16, the week aims to raise awareness of and improve men’s health across Canada. Last year, the first study to look at health behaviours in men rather that diseases, found that 72% of Canadian men lead unhealthy lifestyles.

The study found that 62% of Canadian men follow an unhealthy diet, and 59% don’t get the recommended 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise per week. You’ve probably either heard it from someone or said it yourself before: “Oh, don’t worry about it – I’m just rockin’ the dad bod!” Or maybe it was “It’s just my beer gut coming out, no big deal!” Although sometimes men joke around about their weight, the reality is that being overweight or obese comes with inherent health risks, and men need to be aware that they’re not immune.

Being “overweight” is generally due to extra body fat, although it can also be due to extra muscle, bone or water. Those who are obese usually have too much body fat. Excess body fat raises levels of LDL (“bad”) cholesterol while also lowering HDL (“good”) cholesterol. It can raise your blood glucose, which in turn increases your risk for type 2 diabetes. Being overweight or obese is also linked to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, sleep apnea, fatty liver diseases, gallbladder diseases, some cancers, kidney disease, and depression.

Men who are morbidly obese live on average six years less than those who are within a healthy weight range. Men with excess body fat also
may face issues regarding hormones, sexual functioning and prostate health. Studies have found that obesity lowers testosterone levels. Men who experience an increase of four inches in their waist size have been found to increase the risk of low testosterone levels by 75%. By comparison, 10 years of aging increases the risk by only 36%. Testosterone deficiency is problematic because it’s the major male hormone and is responsible for the development of male reproductive organs, sperm production and libido, as well as secondary sexual characteristics such as increased muscle and bone mass, body hair growth and a deep voice. Men who are obese may also be more likely to experience erectile dysfunction and impaired fertility.

All is not lost, however. Even if you are carrying around excess body fat, you can still make lifestyle changes to get to a healthy weight range. A great first step to see where you’re at is to book an InBody Body Composition Analysis test to see how much fat, muscle mass, and water you have in your body. To book your test, contact the Health Promotion Team at local 6958 or email 4WGHealthPromotion@forces.gc.ca. You can also go to YouCheck (www.youcheck.ca) to complete a free questionnaire that will provide you with a customized report on your current and future health.

References

Canadian Men’s Health Foundation. (11 June 2018). 72% of Canadian men live unhealthy lifestyles: First national study of all health behaviours. Retrieved from http://menshealthfoundation.ca/menshealthweek/2018/press-release/
• Kelly, D. M., & Jones, T. H. (2015). Testosterone and obesity. Obesity Reviews, 16(7), 581-606.
• National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (n.d.). Definition & facts for adult overweight & obesity. Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/adult-overweight-obesity/definition-facts
• National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. (n.d.). Health risks of overweight and obesity. Retrieved from https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/adult-overweight-obesity/health-risks
• WebMD. (29 Jan 2018). Weight and Erectile Dysfunction (ED). Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/men/weight-erectile-dysfunction