The statistics for male health are alarming: Men are 79 percent more likely to die from heart disease, 57 percent more likely to die from diabetes, 29 percent more likely to be diagnosed with cancer and on average, men die four to five years earlier than women.

In 2013, an estimated 53 percent of Canadian men carried excess weight, 41 percent were inactive, 20 percent smoked tobacco and 12 percent consumed alcohol at levels that are considered to be hazardous or harmful. The annual economic burden attributable to these four preventable and leading causes of chronic disease is $36.9 billion.

Men’s health issues are preventable

We can prevent up to 70 percent of men’s health problems without adding another dollar, doctor, or hospital to the health care system.

"The medical community has an incredible depth of knowledge about the diseases that are robbing men of their health."

While these dollar costs are high, the effects on men’s families and communities are even more significant as men disappear from everyday life long before they die because they become too physically or mentally unwell. Sadly, widows account for 45 percent of all women aged 65 and over.

The medical community has an incredible depth of knowledge about the diseases that are robbing men of their health.  They have identified a few key lifestyle changes that would benefit a great number of men that would result in extending their vitality later in life and avoid or stave off preventable diseases and inflictions.

The Canadian Men’s Health Foundation, working with Men’s Health Champions, and a wide variety of health organizations, government and private industry, is trying to motivate Canadian men, one by one, to think about their health while they are still relatively healthy.

Small changes, huge results

As a simple starting point, all men should be encouraged to pursue better health by adopting small lifestyle changes. Health Champions like Olympian Adam Kreek are publicly taking up the challenge and asking others to do the same.

Kreek says you don’t have to be a professional athlete to live healthier, suggesting men take the stairs instead of the elevator, get off the bus one stop earlier and walk, and order half fries/half salad instead of just fries.

Adam Kreek is joined by hockey great Trevor Linden, Olympic medalist Simon Whitfield, renowned chef Ned Bell, NY Rangers coach Alain Vigneault, CFL star Shea Emery and the voice of Hockey Night in Canada Jim Hughson in championing the cause of men’s health.

We are determined to open up the conversation about men’s health and inspire men to make the changes in their attitudes and behaviour that will ultimately impact their health and longevity. Like seatbelts or recycling, this is a new social movement that will make good health behaviour second nature to current and coming generations of men and boys.


Photo: Canadian Men's Health Foundation