ever run from a bear. Don’t make eye contact, as this will appear to be a threat.

This kind of guy advice is invaluable if you are confronted by a bear while hiking in the woods. But, how do we advise men to let go of their sense of invincibility to prevent health issues like heart disease, prostate cancer, or type 2 diabetes?

There is a real need in Canada to provide men with effective health messages that they will truly hear, absorb, and act on. Men are at an increased risk of death due to heart disease, cancer, and complications from diabetes. This increased risk is due, in part, to the fact that most lifestyle-related risk factors — smoking, overuse of alcohol, physical inactivity, and being overweight or obese — are more prevalent among males. “Seventy percent of men’s health problems could be prevented by living a healthy lifestyle,” says Dr. Larry Goldenberg, Chairman of the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation (CMHF). 

The CMHF was created to inspire men to live healthier lives. It is one of the only organizations in Canada that focuses entirely on motivating men to develop and maintain key healthy habits, such as proper nutrition and physical activity, to prevent chronic health problems.

“Simply put, men don’t respond well to fingers being pointed at what they are doing wrong. Showing men how small lifestyle changes can have a big health impact is a better approach to health marketing to men,” says Wayne Hartrick, President of the CMHF.

"Drink more water, eat healthier food, take the stairs instead of the elevator… let’s make these small changes now, so we can have better health for ourselves and the people who count on us."

In 2014, the CMHF created Canadian Men’s Health Week, held annually in June during the week leading up to Father’s Day. The campaign is a nation-wide call to action to men, those who love them, those who employ them, and the government to rally together to improve men’s health in Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau showed his support by joining the Don’t Change Much health challenge to motivate guys with easy tips to get healthy.

“You don’t have to take up yoga or lace up the boxing gloves to make a difference,” Prime Minister Trudeau says in the Don’t Change Much health challenge video released during Canadian Men’s Health Week.

“Drink more water, eat healthier food, take the stairs instead of the elevator… let’s make these small changes now, so we can have better health for ourselves and the people who count on us,” he continues. “The underlying message we are trying to get across is that taking your health seriously is not a sign of weakness, but of courage. It’s not just for you, but your family, friends, and community,” says Hartrick.

Highly influential Canadians joined the Don’t Change Much health challenge, including Jim Hughson, Cassie Campbell-Pascall, Trevor Linden, Simon Whitfield, Adam Kreek, Ned Bell, and Shea Emry. Superstar Michael Bublé also got in on the conversation and shared his support on Twitter. “I’m supporting Canadian #MensHealthWeek by joining the Don’t Change Much campaign for healthier men. Will you?” he tweeted.

The CMHF also released three playful Don’t Change Much TV commercials giving simple and purposeful guy-to-guy advice. “Pretty stoked to see that our PM Justin Trudeau has supported the Canadian Men’s Health Week challenge,” said Shea Emry, retired CFL linebacker and CMHF Champion. “If you haven’t seen the campaign commercials yet on TV, they’re hilarious and engaging.”

“Why is it that men need specific health marketing? It’s for the same reason they don’t like to ask for directions. Men just don’t want to appear weak,” says Hartrick.