Each year, men make 150 million less visits to a doctor’s office than women. Unfortunately, this lower number is not because men are healthier than women. The reality is men often do not visit a health care provider when they are sick or have a condition that needs medical attention. Why don’t they go? There could be many reasons; some include:
- Fear of bad news
- Discomfort being examined
- Belief that only “wussies” go to the doctor and that they can “walk it off”
- Fear of being perceived as weak
While the medical issue may resolve itself without clinical treatment, there is the risk of more severe damage if the condition worsens. A trip to the doctor’s office isn’t necessary every time you sneeze, but if there is ever a doubt about your well-being, a trip to your health care provider is in order.
This site discusses some common concerns affecting men’s health. If you have a specific health problem you’d like to discuss with a clinician, make appointments with your Medical Team.
If you’re interested in more written information or speaking with health promotion specialists (such as a nutritionist and sexual health coordinator), contact the University Health Center’s Health Promotion Department. This office is located on the first floor of the University Health Center, 706-542-8690.
Are You Happy With Your Body?
Another important aspect of a man’s health is body image. Men are often concerned about the shape and appearance of their bodies. Being concerned about one’s appearance and physique isn’t always a bad thing, but it can become obsessive and some men engage in unhealthy behaviors to achieve their goals. It is important to realize that the ideal V-shaped muscular body portrayed in the media and our culture is just that – an “ideal standard” – and it is not attainable for everyone, or may be attainable only with a great deal of time and energy. Instead, bodies come in a variety of shapes and sizes and cultivating a healthy body image involves appreciating our uniqueness and differences. Click here for more information on enhancing male body image.
Concerned with Your Weight?
Although fad diets promise a quick fix, they do not work long term and may cause health problems. It is important to realize that addressing weight concerns involves more than just a number on the scale; instead it involves making changes to promote health. If you are not at your healthiest weight, making changes to include more nutritious foods in your eating and increase your activity level will likely help you reach a healthier weight. Here are some tips to help you get started:
Tips for Promoting Health:
- Make at least half of your plate fruits and vegetables. Chose high-fiber carbohydrates, such as fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads and cereals. They provide energy, fiber and “filling up” power. Visit ChooseMyPlate.gov for more information.
- Watch your portion size! While those super-sized meals may seem like such a deal, your body may not need the extra calories.
- Plan ahead when eating out. Select food items that are broiled or baked and limit extras like cheese and mayonnaise.
- Prepare more foods at home. Use cooking methods that don’t add a lot of fat to the food. Try steaming, baking, broiling, or microwaving, and reduce fried foods.
- Decrease or eliminate alcohol. All forms of alcohol add additional calories without adding nutritional value.
- Set realistic goals. Combine eating habits and exercise to achieve a healthy rate of weight loss at 1-2 pounds a week. Losing it quicker can have health risks and it means that you’re more likely to gain it back.
Trying to Gain Weight?
At the other end of the spectrum, some men want to gain weight, and specifically muscle. Many people think that it is necessary to eat large amounts of protein in order to build muscle. While a certain amount of protein is needed to maintain muscle mass, eating more than you need does not produce more muscle. Instead, eating enough carbohydrates to provide energy to fuel your workout, plus eating enough protein spaced evenly throughout the day, will help maintain and build lean muscle mass. The average adult needs around 0.4 grams (g) of protein per pound of body weight, which equals about 6-8 ounce equivalents of protein for the average male adult in addition to protein found in other foods. Click here for more information on protein foods.
For information about nutrition services or to schedule an appointment with a registered dietitian at the University Health Center, visit the UHC Nutrition Services website or contact the Health Promotion Department at 770-542-8690. Interested in learning to prepare healthy, delicious, budget friendly meals? Check out the fun, interactive, $5 cooking classes offered at the University Health Center.