Men’s health care should start from childhood and include everything from healthy eating to mindfulness and leisure options.
During the month of November, the Blue November campaign is held worldwide. The campaign not only raises awareness about the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer, but also aims to draw attention to the prevention and early diagnosis of diseases that affect the male population, as well as promoting healthy habits from early childhood.
Research shows that women are much more concerned about their health than men. According to a study by the National Health Programme, 82.3% of women sought professional care within a year, while the male rate was 69.4%.
What’s more, of the men who go to the doctor, 70 per cent only do so because of the influence of their wives or children. The research comes from the São Paulo Reference Centre for Men’s Health, which also shows that more than half of these patients postpone going to the doctor and arrive at health centres with diseases at an advanced stage.
The IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics) has shown that, compared to women, men have less healthy habits. On the one hand, they eat fewer vegetables and fruit. On the other hand, men consume three times as much beer as women.
In addition to these reasons, traffic accidents and cases of violence contribute to men living an average of 7.2 years less than women. Knowing this, Ramacrisna has prepared tips to help boys and men take care of themselves.
The main causes of men’s lack of self-care come from male chauvinism. This is because it has created stereotypes of masculinity, including the idea that men should be strong and not express feelings. These thoughts are even reinforced by government health policies, which are generally aimed at women.
There is also the idea that men don’t need to dedicate themselves to health care, or follow diets or take medication. Preventive consultations, on the other hand, are denied on the grounds that “Seek and you shall find”.
But you have to understand that taking care of yourself doesn’t mean being fragile and vain. Even less so is health synonymous with a doctor’s surgery. It’s about complete physical, mental and social well-being and not just the absence of ailments and illnesses.
For boys to grow up healthily, it’s important to pay attention to a few things, such as keeping vaccinations up to date, eating a balanced diet and controlling body weight. Ideally, babies should be given only breast milk until they are six months old, and then food should be introduced into the child’s diet.
That’s when good eating habits start to develop. This is because it is in childhood that we define our taste buds. Parents should therefore avoid giving children salty, sweet, fatty and sausage-laden foods.
Another tip is to teach children how to clean themselves properly, including taking care of their teeth. Childhood is also an ideal time for children to get into the habit of physical activity. Parents should encourage children to take part in sports. As well as the benefits for the body, they will have better cognitive and social development.
Adolescence, on the other hand, is a warning sign for carers. This is because, at the same time as it is a stage of great development and physical and mental growth, it is the same period in which various forms of health care are neglected, especially among boys. According to the Brazilian Society of Urology, only 1% of adolescent males go to the doctor, which ends up having repercussions in adulthood.
Among adolescents, mental health should be a major concern. According to the World Health Organisation, suicide is the third leading cause of death among adolescents aged 15 to 19. Parents should monitor mood swings, self-harm and anxiety. They should also seek help if necessary.
With these precautions, a man will reach adulthood healthy. In addition to having created the habits to take care of himself over the years, ensuring a peaceful old age.
The Ramacrisna Institute works directly with the socially vulnerable population in Betim and 11 other cities in the Belo Horizonte Metropolitan Region. The activities offered by the institution cover not only children and adolescents, but also young people and adults, which allows for health awareness and promotion activities at all stages of the beneficiaries’ lives.
As well as preventing various illnesses by promoting sporting activities that work not only on physical but also mental health, Ramacrisna provides balanced meals for the students in the projects, a way of guaranteeing a healthy diet that they often wouldn’t have access to at home.
It is everyone’s duty to help improve the health of people of all genders and ages. We count on your help to keep our work going. Get in touch and find out more.