Encouraging dads to get on
track to better health
Fatherís Day is June 19, 2011 and health experts are encouraging dads to get on track to better health by making small changes to their eating and exercise habits.
Balintfy: By taking better care of their health, dads can improve their future and set a good example for their loved ones to follow.
Rodgers: Dads are special people, not just on Fatherís Day but every day.
Balintfy: Dr. Griffin Rodgers is an institute director at the National Institutes of Health. He says Fatherís Day is the perfect opportunity to celebrate dads and encourage them to make improving their health a priority.
Rodgers: They do so much for their loved ones. But oftentimes they do very little for themselves.
Balintfy: And men, like the rest of the U.S. population, are facing a serious public health problem: obesity. Dr. Rodgers says about 32 percent of men are considered obese, which means they face serious health risks.
Rodgers: Men who are considered obese are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high-blood pressure, stroke and some cancers.
Balintfy: But research shows that even a modest weight loss — 5 to 7 percent, which is 10 to 14 pounds for a 200 pound man —can produce tremendous health benefits. And Dr. Rodgers suggests that a modest reduction in body weight is achievable.
Rodgers: Being more active and eating better are two very important ways dads can improve their health. Dads can also improve their physical and mental health by getting adequate sleep, quitting smoking, and reducing how much alcohol they drink.
Balintfy: Dr. Rodgers emphasizes that alcohol can be a major source of hidden calories.
Rodgers: A single shot of liquor, for example is about 2 ounces, but it contains 125 calories. A 5-ounce glass of wine or a 12-ounce glass of beer has about 160 calories. So before you reach for that second beverage as you celebrate Fatherís Day, remember that what you drink can expand your waistline just as much as what you eat.
Balintfy: Other tips Dr. Rodgers offers include making small changes in their lifestyle to add physical activity.
Rodgers: Consider a brisk walk after dinner with your family, weight training with a buddy or playing basketball with co-workers or on a local team.
Balintfy: He reminds that dads should start with a level of activity that they feel is doable and slowly increase the frequency and intensity of their exercise. Also,
Rodgers: Eating smaller portions may help dads control their weight. Make half your plate vegetables and/or fruits; one-fourth a whole grain, such as brown rice; and one-fourth a protein food, such as lean meat, poultry, or fish or dried beans.
Balintfy: Dr. Rodgers says improving health has a lot of variables, and loved ones can help dads with encouragement and support. For more information on how dads can get on track to better health, visit the website win.niddk.nih.gov. Look for the publication: Getting on Track: Physical Activity and Health Eating for Men. That free publication is also available by calling 1-877-946-4627. This is Joe Balintfy, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland.