Make a healthy difference this month and all year long
If you look around this month and see more men sporting moustaches, there’s likely a good reason behind it. November is increasingly known as “Movember”—“m” for “men” or “moustache”—a monthlong recognition of men’s health issues.
A MOVEMENT FOR MEN’S HEALTH
Movember began in Australia in 2003 when a group of male friends decided to fundraise for prostate cancer research by growing mustaches. The idea was such a hit with the dozens of men who participated that the friends formalized the annual concept and, just a few years later, established an official charity. Today, there are official Movember campaigns in more than 20 countries including the United States, raising research funding as well as awareness of men’s health issues.
While the concept began with a specific focus on prostate cancer—which is the second most common cancer in men worldwide—the awareness campaign has grown to cover a broad range of men’s concerns like testicular cancer, mental health, and healthy living.
NINE HEALTHY THINGS GUYS CAN DO
The Mayo Clinic has nine things men can do to make a healthy difference during Movember and all year long:
- Don’t smoke—If you do smoke or use other tobacco products, ask your doctor to help you quit. Avoid exposure to secondhand smoke and chemicals, like those found in some working environments.
- Eat a nutritious diet—Choose vegetables, fruits, whole grains, high-fiber foods, and lean sources of protein, such as fish. Limit foods high in saturated and trans fats, and foods with added sugar and sodium.
- Maintain a healthy weight—Losing excess pounds—and keeping them off—can lower your risk of heart disease as well as various types of cancer.
- Get moving—Exercise can help you control your weight, lower your risk of heart disease and stroke, and possibly lower your risk of certain types of cancer. Choose activities you enjoy, such as tennis, basketball, running, or brisk walking. All physical activity benefits your health.
- Limit alcohol—If you choose to drink alcohol, do so only in moderation. That means up to two drinks a day if you are age 65 or younger and one drink a day if you are older than age 65. The risk of various types of cancer, like liver cancer, appears to increase with the amount of alcohol you drink and the length of time you’ve been drinking regularly. Too much alcohol can also raise your blood pressure and increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
- Manage stress—If you feel constantly on edge or under pressure, your lifestyle habits may suffer—and so might your immune system. Take steps to reduce stress, or learn to deal with stress in healthy ways.
- Drive safely—Vehicle accidents are another common cause of death among men. To stay safe on the road, wear your seat belt, follow the speed limit, never drive under the influence of alcohol or any other substances, and don’t drive distracted or while sleepy.
- Visit the doctor—Don’t avoid the doctor or wait to visit until something is seriously wrong. Your doctor is your best ally for maintaining health and preventing disease. Follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations if you have health issues, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, or diabetes, and ask about preventive care like cancer screenings, vaccinations, and other health evaluations.
- Talk to a mental health professional—Suicide is another leading men’s health risk, and an important risk factor for suicide among men is depression. If you have signs and symptoms of depression, talk to a mental health professional. If you are contemplating suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800) 273-8255 or call 911.
Department of Consumer Affairs’ allied health, behavioral sciences, and psychology licensees are dedicated to helping men—and all Californians—live their healthiest lives. To check a professional’s license, visit https://search.dca.ca.gov.
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