National Men’s Health Week

June 16, 2015

As a follow-up to our celebration of National Women???s Health Week in May, we are happy to do the same for National Men???s Health Week this month (we said you would get your turn, guys). As a male CMWL program participant myself, I can easily identify with the challenges men face when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off. If you are a man, or are concerned about the health of men in your life, I strongly urge you to consider this information as you make decisions in your everyday life.

According to the Center for Disease Control, on average, American men live sicker and die younger than American women. Over 70 percent of American men are either overweight or obese. Numerous studies have shown a direct correlation between your body mass index (BMI) and your risk for developing additional chronic disease. The higher your BMI, the more likely you are to suffer from chronic conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, and even cancer.

The leading cause of death in men is heart disease. For those who suffer from obesity the risk for developing this disease increases dramatically. In a study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Heart Failure, researchers found that men who had a BMI above 30 were 32 percent more likely to develop heart failure compared to a man of healthy weight. For obese men with a BMI over 35, the risk doubled.

Known as the silent killer, diabetes is a disease affecting over 13 million men, and many unaware that they have it. Men who are overweight, have low activity levels, or have a family history of diabetes are at a high risk of developing the disease. According to the American Journal of Epidemiology, men with a BMI of 30 or higher have 7 times greater risk for developing diabetes compared to men in the normal weight range and a BMI lower than 25.

Excess body weight may increase risk of death from cancer. In a high-profile study conducted by the American Cancer Society, obesity was linked to an increased risk of the most common forms of cancer in men (prostate, kidney, colon, esophagus, pancreas, stomach).

Hypertension is a big health problem affecting over 65 million Americans. Risk of hypertension increases with age, a family history of high blood pressure, and obesity. People that are overweight have three times the risk for developing hypertension compared to normal-weight individuals. In the Framingham Heart Study, researchers found that 70 percent of the new cases of hypertension were related to excess body fat. For every 10-lb weight gain, systolic blood pressure increased and average of 4.5 mm Hg. Researchers also found a link between obesity in men and lower cognitive function. Participants completed learning and memory tests, and men who were obese performed poorly compared to non-obese men.

This week???s message for men is to make health a priority. Visit your health care provider and get the support you need to safeguard and improve your health. It???s never too late to get healthy!

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