This is a guest post by Kristen Nichols Heitman, MPH, an epidemiologist in the Rickettsial Zoonoses Branch in the Division of Vector-Borne Diseases in the National Center for Emerging Zoonotic and Infectious Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She received a Master of Public Health (MPH) with a concentration in epidemiology from Georgia State University.

Kristen Nichols Heitman

In recent years, you may have noticed an increasing trend in men growing mustaches. The hairy fashion statement can’t be completely attributed to the hipster movement; some men are growing mustaches for a good cause: Movember. During the month of November, the Movember Foundation, a charity focusing on men’s health issues, encourages men to grow mustaches to increase awareness of men’s health. The foundation focuses on prostate cancer, testicular cancer, mental health and suicide prevention. In 13 years, the group has funded more than 1,200 men’s health projects around the world. In honor of Movember, I will discuss men’s health issues and give some tips on how men can maintain good health throughout the year.

Did you know when compared to women, men are more likely to smoke and drink, make unhealthy or risky choices, and put off regular checkups and medical care? The top leading causes of death for men are heart disease, cancer and unintentional injuries. Here are 10 ways men can maintain good health and prevent disease.

  • Go to your doctor for regular checkups and medical care. Don’t wait until something is seriously wrong. Prevention and early diagnosis are important for many health issues and diseases. Click here for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ list of recommended screenings for men.
  • Don’t smoke or use other tobacco products. Not smoking or stopping smoking reduces your risk for heart disease and many types of cancers.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Choose vegetables, fruits, whole grains, high-fiber foods and lean sources of protein, such as fish. Limit foods high in saturated fat and sodium.
  • Lose the extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight. This can help lower your risk of heart disease and some forms of cancer.
  • Move. Regular physical activity can help you lose and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of heart disease, reduce stress levels and more. Adults need at least two and a half hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week. Choose an activity you enjoy, since all physical activity benefits your health.
  • Limit your alcohol intake. Moderation, moderation, moderation! Up to two drinks per day for men age 65 and younger and one drink per day for men over 65.
  • Manage stress. Feeling stressed out is bad for your health. Learns ways to reduce stress or deal with it in healthy ways.  
  • Stay connected. Maintain healthy relationships with your friends and family and reach out if you’re feeling stressed or sad.
  • Get good sleep. Adults need between 7–9 hours of sleep per night. Lack of sleep is associated with a number of chronic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, obesity and depression.
  • Wear your seat belt. Motor vehicle accidents are a common cause of death in men. Always follow the speed limit and never drive under the influence of alcohol or other substances when you’re sleepy.

Other helpful resources:

American Heart Association: The Top 10 Reasons Men Put Off Doctor Visits

CDC: Men’s Health

Movember Foundation: Men’s Health

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