By Jean-Christian Gagnon, PSP Ottawa Health Promotion –
“I’m fine… Don’t worry about it… I’ll be ok…”
These are all phrases that sound typical of guys – or at least some of them – when asked about their own health. Indeed, recent research reveals that men are less likely to seek health advice and care than women, and a big contributing factor explaining this are masculine norms (e.g., pride) that can inhibit help-seeking and reinforce harmful coping styles.
Health of both men and women is particularly relevant for the CAF community, where physical and mental health is crucial in developing a strong, fit and deployable force. But why is it so important to break the stigma around men’s health? Well, the statistics around men’s health in Canada are quite worrisome, as men are 40% more likely to die from cancer, and 70% more likely to succumb to heart disease than their female counterparts. In light of these alarming trends, Dr. Larry Goldenberg founded the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation (CMHF) in 2014. Through awareness campaigns, education and resources, the CMHF aims to act on the “final piece of the family health puzzle”, that is, men actively caring for health and looking after themselves a little more.
June 11 to 17 2018 was Men’s Health week
Through their Don’t Change Much campaign, the CMHF provides Canadian men with information, resources and tools (that are also relatable and with a twist of humour), enabling them to improve their own lifestyles. Their philosophy? It’s all about small changes. No need to embark on an extravagant diet, sign up for a marathon, or find an excuse to tell your friends that you have to leave early and cannot have a drink with them after the hockey game – or whatever your thing might be. The Don’t Change Much 30 second TV campaign (accessible at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mk2oNxGnuI ) sends a tailored message to men, and might become your preferred source of health information!
Practical tips for guys
Here are a few tips for guys that we compiled from DontChangeMuch.ca website that might resonate with you:
- Don’t let your “T” run low! The amount of testosterone produced starts to drop at about age 40. While your “T” naturally declines with age, you can slow it down by eating right and by adding some physical activity to your daily routine. This will positively impact your energy levels, concentration, memory, libido, and your ability to think clearly!
- Take the stairs. By climbing a few flights of stairs or walking a few city blocks (get off the bus one or two stops earlier) daily, men can lower their risk of heart attack by 25%.
- Add YouCheck to your toolbox! Ok… we cannot compare it to screwdrivers, hammers and duct tape, but YouCheck is a health tool specifically designed for men that can increase your chances of using your toolbox for many more years! YouCheck takes under 8 minutes to complete, provides a thorough health assessment and is a great first step in making simple lifestyle changes leading to big time benefits! Take the test now at: http://dontchangemuch.ca/health-check-tool/
For plenty of other useful resources, visit http://dontchangemuch.ca. Also, you can have a look at the different programs offered for free by the CFSUO(O) Health Promotion Team. There’s a range of workshops and briefings, from mental fitness and suicide awareness to our smoking cessation program, stress management to sport nutrition, and many more! The complete program schedule for fall 2018 will be out by mid-July.
And women, feel free to consult the above resources as well. Many of the health tips presented here apply to you as well (ok, maybe not the one on testosterone…!). Finally, you play an important role in the health of the important men in your lives, probably more than you think!
Happy Men’s Health Week!
 Thompson, A. E., Anisimowicz, Y., Miedema, B., Hogg, W., Wodchis, W. P., & Aubrey-Bassler, K. (2016). The influence of gender and other patient characteristics on health care-seeking behaviour: A QUALICOPC study. BMC Family Practice, 17(1), 38.
 Seidler, Z. E., Dawes, A. J., Rice, S. M., Oliffe, J. L., & Dhillon, H. M. (2016). The role of masculinity in men’s help-seeking for depression: A systematic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 49, 106-118.
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