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Monthly Health Topics

Top Five Health Tips for Dads

By Jay Schechtman, M.D., MBA
With Father’s Day coming up, I want to talk about something that’s a prime concern for me as a father and a doctor: men’s health.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), men die at higher rates than women from many of the leading causes of death, including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes.
The CDC also found that while Americans are living longer than ever, men have made smaller gains than women. In 1920, American women lived one year longer than their male counterparts; today, the difference is five years.
One reason is that men are less likely than women to see their doctor regularly. Men are 25 percent less likely to have visited a doctor in the last year, and almost 40 percent more likely to have missed recommended tests for cholesterol, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. This is especially concerning because heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, and cholesterol screenings save lives.
To help reverse the trend, I’m sharing five tips for better men’s health:
• Get a checkup. It is vital to see your doctor once a year to have your blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure checked. You need to have these tests done even if you feel fine, because their associated conditions (diabetes and heart disease) often have no symptoms during the early stages of the diseases.
• Manage mental health. According to the CDC, men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women. One reason is that men don’t always recognize depression symptoms and seek treatment. In men, depression can cause irritability, anger, headaches, and even digestive problems. If you’re experiencing harmful thoughts or physical changes, talk with your doctor.
• Stop smoking. Smoking is dangerous for your health and harmful for those around you, including your kids. According to the CDC, secondhand smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals, including 70 that are known to cause cancer. A 2015 study conducted by researchers in Finland (Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study) found that children of smokers were four times more likely to develop heart disease as adults than children of nonsmokers—even if the smokers limited their children’s exposure. Visit nycsmokefree.org for help quitting.
• Eat right. Make sure you’re eating a healthy diet, with plenty of vegetables and fruits. For tips on eating a healthier meal, visit choosemyplate.gov.
• Exercise. Make time to exercise every day. Exercise is also a great way to spend time with your kids, like teaching them to play your favorite sports or going for a walk.

If you haven’t had your yearly health screening yet, come get one for free at an event near you:

Borough Date Time Location
Brooklyn 06/10/15 10:30am-2:00pm Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger
2010 Fulton Street
Brooklyn, NY 11233
Manhattan 06/13/15 11:00am-4:00pm Annunciation Park
134th Street (between Amsterdam and Convent Avenues)
New York, NY 10031
Nassau 06/16/15 4:00pm-6:00pm Kennedy Park (Auditorium)
335 Greenwich Street
Hempstead, NY 11550
Queens 06/18/15 12:00pm-3:00pm Robert Couche Senior Center
137-57 Farmers Boulevard
Jamaica, NTY 11434
Brooklyn 06/19/15 11:00am-2:00pm Bedford Stuyvesant Early Childhood Development Center
510 Quincy Street
Brooklyn, NY 11221
Bronx 06/19/15 1:00pm-5:00pm Claremont Neighborhood Center
489 East 169th Street
Bronx, NY 10456
Suffolk 06/19/15 5:00pm-7:00pm Brentwood Library
34 Second Avenue
Brentwood, NY 11717

I wish you a happy, healthy Father’s Day!
Jay Schechtman is the Chief Medical Officer at Healthfirst. The information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice from your doctor. For more tips on leading a healthier lifestyle, visit www.healthfirst.org/live-healthy.

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