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Guys, we need to talk

By Dr John Mayhew

The mental and physical health of men needs to improve. At present the life expectancy of New Zealand men is four years lower than females (Statistics NZ) and last year 70% of New Zealanders who took their own lives were male (Coroner’s Report).

I’ve built my career taking care of New Zealand’s top athletes including the All Blacks and the Warriors. I’m also the Chief Medical Officer at Sovereign. People often ask me what I think every man should do to take charge of his health. Here’s what I tell them:

  • Invest in a cardio risk assessment with your doctor. This should include blood pressure, BMI measure, cholesterol, and a discussion on diet and exercise. If aged over 50 have a chat about bowel and prostate cancer screening (more New Zealanders die of bowel cancer than prostate or breast cancer).
  • Get a skin check. We’re heading into summer now so it’s time to visit a clinic and get checked out. Remember to load up on sun screen and wear a hat and sunglasses when you are outside. If you are getting into the water a rash shirt helps to protect your body from the sun’s rays.
  • Regular exercise including some form of resistance exercise (body weight). Try to do something five times a week.
  • Moderation on alcohol, especially over the festive season.
  • Eat well – lots of vegetables and fruit and steer clear of too many sweet treats.
  • Be honest about mental health – if something isn’t feeling right talk to a professional who can provide guidance.
  • Don’t smoke.

Dr John Mayhew is the Chief Medical Officer at Sovereign. This article was originally published in SovBlog.