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David Morgan
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Men Need to Make Health a Priority Too

June 15, 2018 - Cabinet Secretary - Blog

This June, the New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) celebrates National Men's Health Month. Just like Women’s Health Month coincided with Mother’s Day last month, Men’s health month is on the calendar each year the same month as Father’s Day.

It’s during the month that NMDOH and other public health organizations seek to make men aware of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease. More than half of premature deaths among men are preventable.

Men’s Health Month, now in its 23rd year, is credited with the increase in awareness and wellness activities for boys and men in all areas of the public and private sectors, resulting in better health outcomes and longer life expectancy.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), thousands of men and women in New Mexico die every year from heart disease and stroke, and thousands of new cancer cases are diagnosed annually. The top three cancers for men in the state are prostate, lung and colorectal – and all of it is readily treatable when caught early or outright preventable when guys take better care of themselves.

So with all that in mind, NMDOH and CDC recommend all of the above – as well as these certain things to improve our health and stay healthy:

  • Get good sleep. Research shows with insufficient sleep comes a number of chronic diseases and conditions, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity, and depression. Sleep guidelines from the National Sleep Foundation note sleep needs change as we age. In general, adults need between 7-9 hours of sleep.
  • Move more! Adults need at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week.
  • Eat Healthy. More than one out of every three men in the United States over the age of 20 are obese. A heavy burden (pun intended) that is shared by many men in New Mexico who don’t eat a variety of fruits and vegetables every day or limit foods and drinks high in calories, sugar, salt, fat, and alcohol.
  • Get routine exams and screenings. Seriously, you guys: thousands of deaths could be prevented each year by taking your medications properly and making sure to follow doctor's instructions for all medications, including those that help control conditions like high blood pressure and diabetes.
  • Toss out the tobacco. We can’t emphasize enough the immediate and long-term benefits of giving up tobacco products. It improves your health and lowers your risk of heart disease, cancer, lung disease, and other smoking-related illnesses. The Department of Health’s Tobacco Use Prevention and Control Program (TUPAC) offers counseling free of charge at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669) and 1-855-DEJELO-YA (1-855-335-3569).

All of these are just the beginning of the easy changes we can make today when we put our minds to it. Our ability to stay strong and live longer is not just a matter of our genes or our luck. Take these some simple steps to support your health, your family, and your future.