Men’s Health Month: Take Charge of Your Health


Men have a shorter overall life expectancy than women by approximately 5% (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Statistically, men are less likely to schedule preventive health screenings, tend to take more risks than females and are more reluctant to seek medical attention. As a result, men are more likely to die from such preventable diseases heart disease, cancer and HIV. They’re also at a greater risk for accidents and committing suicide.

“Even though men are more prone to die from serious illnesses, they continue to avoid seeing the doctor when sick, for annual examinations and preventative services,” says Dr. Courtney Hollowell, men’s health expert and Chairman of Urology for the Cook County Health. “Men need to take a more proactive role in their own health care. Annual check-ups and screenings can go a long way in preventing issues.”

The goal of Men’s Health Month is to encourage men and boys to take care of their health and to heighten awareness of the many preventable health problems that affect them and their families.

Below are a few healthy tips to stay youthful and healthy as you age:

  1. Get early screenings. Certain diseases and conditions may not have symptoms, so checkups help identify issues early or before they become a problem. They will not only save money in the long run, but they can also save your life and/or make life easier to manage if diseases are caught early on.
  2. Stay active. Regular physical activity has many benefits. It can help control your weight, reduce heart disease and some cancers and can improve your health and mood. Adults need 2.5 hours of physical activity a week (30 minutes per day). A pedometer can help remind us how much walking we’ve done over the day. The minimum daily goal should be 5,000 steps, but shoot for 10,000 steps for maximum benefit. Choose activities you enjoy, such as tennis, basketball or brisk walking. All physical activity benefits your health
  3. Live tobacco free. Smoking has been found to harm nearly every organ in the body. Although everyone knows it’s bad for you, there are still over 40 million current smokers in the United States. Quitting smoking has immediate and long-term benefits. You lower your risk for different types of cancer, and don’t expose others to secondhand smoke-which causes health problems. If you smoke, there is no better time to quit than now. Your doctor can help you with your quit attempt or you can call the Illinois Tobacco Quitline at 866-QUIT-YES.
  4. Eat healthier. A healthy diet consists of three to five servings of fruits and vegetables and two to three servings of protein (meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts) and dairy products. Make sure your fat intake is no more than 30% of your caloric intake. Be aware of your alcohol intake by limiting yourself to no more than two drinks per day. Also be sure to avoid foods and drinks high in sodium and sugar.
  5. Make sleep a priority. More than a third of Americans get less than the recommended amount of sleep. Poor sleep habits may put you at higher risk for early signs of heart disease when compared to those who get adequate, good quality sleep. To get the most out of our sleep, both quantity and quality are important. Aim for a good seven to nine hours of shut-eye a night to allow your body to begin to repair cell damage, prime the immune system and consolidate memory. Sleep-deprived men report worsening libido and increased appetite, leading to unnecessary weight gain.

This year Cook County Health is partnering with The Little Village Community Council in hosting a Health and Wellness Fair on Saturday, June 16 at New Life Community Church. The event will offer complimentary screenings, lunch and giveaways. For more information call 312-286-3405.