Posts Tagged ‘men’s health’

Men Left Out of Weight-Loss Market

Even though men are more likely to be overweight than women, men are not getting the weight-loss services they need.

Recent data from Britain is easily applied to the US, and around the world.

Using a Freedom of Information request, the Men’s Health Forum in Britain asked local authorities how many people had been helped by their weight-loss programs in 2013-2014.

The results show 110,324 women as compared with 29,919 men, suggesting that a woman is 277% (3½ times) more likely to get help with weight loss than a man, according to a news release.

Two-thirds of men in Britain are overweight or obese as compared with 57% of women.

Shocking Figures

“These figures are pretty shocking,” said Martin Tod, CEO of Men’s Health Forum.

“We want to see local councils making much bigger efforts to design their services to work for men.

This is particularly important because men account for three-quarters of premature deaths from coronary heart disease—and middle-aged men are twice as likely as women to get diabetes.”

According to a recent publication from the Men’s Health Forum, How To Make Weight-Loss Services Work For Men, there are several reasons for the gender gap.

These include poor advertising or marketing, services that are inappropriate or unattractive to men, and unsuitable venues or times.

Here is a summary of the highlights from the forum guide on what works with weight-loss for men:

Key lessons

1. Obesity prevention and treatment should take into account sex and gender-related differences.

2. Weight reduction for men is best achieved and maintained with the combination of a reducing diet, advice on physical activity, and behavior change techniques.

Men prefer more factual information on how to lose weight and more emphasis on physical activity than women.

3. Men-only groups may enhance effectiveness.

Group-based interventions should also provide some individual tailoring and individual feedback to male participants.

4. Weight-loss programs for men may be better provided in social settings, such as sports clubs and workplaces, which may be more successful at engaging men.

No Strict Diets, Please

In general, men express a dislike of “strict” diets.

Intermittent periods of dieting may be more effective for men than regular periods of dieting.

► Men particularly enjoy the use of pedometers to monitor their physical activity.

► Men prefer interventions that are individualized, fact-based, flexible, use business-like language, and include simple to understand information.

► Men are less likely than women to do well using the drug Orlistat to help long-term weight-loss maintenance.

► Men differ from women when it comes to encouraging them and maintaining participation in weight-loss programs.

Men are significantly less likely than women to join a weight-loss program, but once recruited they are less likely than women to drop out.

► Middle-aged men in particular, are more motivated to lose weight once they become aware that they have a health problem, for example, being diagnosed as “obese” by a health care professional.

Understanding the health benefits of losing weight can act as a motivator for men, for example, knowing that weight loss may prevent the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus or that weight reduction may improve erectile function.

Healthy Behaviors Trim Dementia, Chronic Diseases

Five healthy behaviors — regular exercise; no smoking; and maintaining a low body weight, a healthy diet, and low alcohol intake — appear to reduce the risk of dementia and several chronic diseases significantly, according to a 35-year study that monitored men’s health habits.

The men who consistently engaged in 4 or 5 of these behaviors experienced a 60% reduction in dementia and cognitive decline — with exercise being the strongest mitigating factor — as well as 70% fewer instances of diabetes mellitus, heart disease, and stroke, compared with persons who engaged in none of them.

“Undoubtedly, these protective behaviors affect a host of biological mechanisms.

Separating out relationships between the 5 behaviors and the 4 disease outcomes we examined would be an enormous, and probably a rather fruitless, task.

It would not be helpful to the overall aim of promoting healthy lifestyles to dissect out and promote individual behaviors.

People should be urged to adopt a healthy lifestyle as a complete package,” said lead author Peter Elwood, DSc, MD of the Cochrane Institute of Primary Care and Public Health at Cardiff University.

Dr. Elwood and colleagues presented their results in the December 9, 2013 issue of PLoS One.

Researchers have known for some time that what is good for the heart is good for the head, Dr. Elwood pointed out, noting that the study provides more evidence that healthy living could significantly reduce the chances of developing dementia.

The Caerphilly Cohort Study recorded the healthy behaviors of 2235 men aged 45 to 59 years in Caerphilly, South Wales.

An important aim of the study was to examine the relationships among healthy lifestyles, chronic disease, and cognitive decline over a 35-year period.

The researchers also monitored changes in the take-up of healthy behaviors.

“The size of reduction in the instance of disease owing to these simple healthy steps is of enormous importance in an aging population,” said Dr. Elwood.

“What the research shows is that following a healthy lifestyle confers surprisingly large benefits to health. Healthy behaviors have a far more beneficial effect than any medical treatment or preventative procedure.”

However, Dr. Elwood pointed out, “our study showed that over 30 years health promotion had no detectable effect upon the prevalence of healthy living.”

Despite increasing knowledge of the relevance of lifestyle to health and to survival, the proportion of the adult Welsh population following all 5 healthy behaviors was, and remains, under 1%.

The prevalence of all 5 healthy behaviors is estimated to be only 3% in large, primary prevention studies in the United States.

“Clearly there is an urgent need for new strategies in health promotion to be developed and evaluated,” Dr. Elwood said.

He suggested that rather than talk to their patients about the benefits of a healthy lifestyle in rather vague terms, physicians should speak in precise, quantitative terms, saying something like: “People who live a truly active lifestyle experience 60% fewer heart attacks, 70% less diabetes, and a 60% reduction in dementia.

Furthermore, those who follow a healthy lifestyle and still get a disease or dementia get it when they are about 12 years older.”