You would think that because we generally have a shorter life span than the opposite sex, men would be more conscious of their health. It’s a generalisation, of course, because the same could be said of many things. For instance, we know that smoking is bad for both males and females, but some keep on puffing like a 19th-century chimney.
In this piece, I’m looking squarely at the male mindset because I want to consider why, generally speaking, men and good health don’t seem to be a good mix.
During their childbearing years especially, women are probably more driven to consider health factors because they can seriously affect a developing baby but there are other issues that come into contention around this time as well.
In New Zealand low iron levels in women during pregnancy are a recognised issue along with the need for vitamin B12, and folic acid. It’s easy to see why, from a young age, women are more familiar with the need to review their own good health.
By default it seems women become the main purchasers and producers of food in the home but, in the early stages, aren’t directly challenged by the same needs.
Just to take a tongue-in-cheek approach for a second, I recall a television advertisement a while back where a woman makes a smart observation on male nature asking him to “think about it.” His response is, “that’s the point, I’m a boy, I don’t have to think.”
If there really is any truth in that, then us men are destined to leave the great bulk of our thinking, especially where food is concerned, in the hands of the person that cares for us most.
They wouldn’t feed you anything bad, would they? Your mother wouldn’t feed you bad food, would she? But what if they never really knew what was good or bad.
I think the problem with us men is that we often leave the things we don’t want to think about over to the people who do.
That, coupled with the thinking that we’re virtually indestructible often leads us to the blase belief that “doctors don’t know anything anyway.”
Well, and speaking from personal experience, that’s ok until you finally end up really ill then you hope like hell that the doctors treating you know something. At that point, you can guarantee they know more about putting you right than you do.
If you’ve kept what you believe to be reasonably good health for many years you naturally have little need to get yourself examined, unless say, an insurance company requests it or maybe your partner says you should go and get yourself checked.
Us men are bad for putting up with odd pains for too long, for ignoring coughs or rubbing cream on something that needs proper medical attention.
The fact is you can’t get even a glimpse of your state of health until you:
- Get a blood test
- Get a urine test
- Do a heart health check, cardiovascular risk assessment
- Review your family medical history
- Examine your current diet – carefully and honestly.
It might happen when you go in for a health check anyway, but one simple health check you can do on your own is to hunt down a measuring tape. If you can’t find one of those pull out a ruler and measure a piece of string out to 94 cm.
If you can’t make the two ends touch around your tummy (80 cm for women 94 for men) you might want to take a look at what you are eating and why.