Life
JM | Jan 24, 2023

Men must keep healthy for their families

/ Our Today

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Health care is simply not at the top of the things-to-do list for men; for most it is not on the list at all.

“For many men illness only happens to persons they know, never to them,” notes fitness instructor Shani McGraham-Shirley. She wants to help men to make their health a top priority so they can take care of their families.

“Many men put their families and responsibilities first. Never seeing themselves as an investment, always on the back burner; school fees must be paid, rent or mortgage due, utilities, and loans,” she points out. 

While this is commendable, McGraham-Shirley cautions men not to ignore taking care of themselves.

“The ailments that cause the most deaths and illnesses in men are either preventable or treatable. Unfortunately, men are usually less willing than women to visit doctors for checkups or preventative care, to seek treatment during the early stages of an ailment or to seek mental health advice,” the fitness instructor states.

McGraham-Shirley’s concern about men’s health-seeking behaviour are shared by Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton. He notes that, culturally, Jamaican men are expected to be tough and strong.

“When we look at the sick profile of our men; if we took the time to go to the health centre or to the doctor and have them examine us when we feel strong, we would have been able to see signs of sickness and be able to correct it before it is too late.”

Dr. Christopher Tufton, minister of health and wellness

“Sometimes we assume that because we are supposed to provide overall leadership and protection, then we must not have any vulnerabilities and we must not show any weakness,” Tufton argues.

“When we look at the sick profile of our men; if we took the time to go to the health centre or to the doctor and have them examine us when we feel strong, we would have been able to see signs of sickness and be able to correct it before it is too late,” he adds.

The health and wellness minister encourages men to take responsibility for their health and become physically active to defeat the epidemic of non-communicable diseases (NCDs). He discloses that in Jamaica, physical inactivity accounts for 12 per cent all-cause mortality, contributing to 13 per cent of breast cancer, 14 per cent of colon cancer, eight per cent of coronary heart disease and 10 per cent of Type-2 Diabetes. These exposures lead to elevated blood pressures, elevated blood sugars, overweight and obesity. He points out that physical activity has several benefits which includes strengthening heart and lungs; increasing energy levels; building stronger bones and muscles, burning fat, and helping to maintain a healthy weight.

McGraham-Shirley, who operates Yahsuh Fitbox in St Andrew, says “the sad part about men developing these diseases, is the fact that most, if not all can be avoided, simply by the choices they make. Men can take control of their health by eating a healthy diet, making simple lifestyle adjustments and visiting the doctor regularly”.

Overall, she says men do not have to make drastic changes to improve their overall wellbeing. She declares that the best tip to consider on the journey to improving health is the art of showing up.

“Show up for yourself and be consistent. It doesn’t have to be big and grand; one simply must start,” advises the fitness instructor.

JOIN Shani as she offers health tips for men at a MASTERCLASS on Saturday (January 28). Register for FREE using this link: https://grandy.biz/fitness-register.

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