Te Wiki Hauora Tāne (Men’s Health Week) runs from 13-19 June and is aimed at getting men to step back and think about their health. In this latest blog post, Jo Scott-Jones talks about the importance of taking the moment to check you're doing the right things for your own health, while looking after the health of others.
We often forget our own health when faced with health promotion events like this, some of us may even find them adding to our stress levels as we don’t really want more fit and well people demanding unnecessary tests and examinations.
This year, for all those male GPs, nurses, pharmacists and other health professionals out there, I’d really encourage you to take 15 minutes out of one day this week to look at the official Men's Health website and follow your curiosity into some of the resources.
They remind us that a boy born today will live nearly four years less than a girl born in the room next door. He will be over 20 per cent more likely to die of a heart attack than the girl, and almost 30 per cent more likely to get diabetes. Worse, he is 3x more likely to die by suicide or in a motor car crash. Eight Kiwi families every day lose a loved partner, father or tupuna to a preventable illness, one they didn’t need to die from. Māori and Pasifika men live significantly shorter lives on average than other ethnicities in New Zealand.
And really concerning for me at age 59 … 1 in 4 of us won’t live to retire!
My Health Score (a simple questionnaire asking stuff like what health checks I’d had and if I drink every day) was 54 which is not ideal, but not as bad as it could have been (scores of 18-45 are preferred and scores of 71-90 are more concerning).
Doing the questionnaire made me think, again, about getting off my butt and doing some more regular exercise...but not until after I’d caught up with Tama Iti and Tom Mulholland whose videos are inspiring.
Tama is a local to the Eastern BOP where I have my practice, and has really turned his health around through taking control of his lifestyle. As he says, “You don’t need to spend $200 at a gym, its all available right here.” And Tom brilliantly manages the challenge to do a “double-up” prostate check for Mark Sainsbury and Jeremy Wells.
We can get hung up on the controversies around prostate screening. Do we, don’t we, who do we, what about when we don’t and we could’ve - we can forget the value in simply having the conversation, and the broader issues of cardiovascular health, gut health, skin health and mental health that we should be thinking about.
I really think after the last few difficult years, it’s important for every one of us to stop and take at least a few moments to think about our own health.