Men are affected by the same diseases that can affect women – such as heart disease, diabetes, depression, and stroke.
However, a recent survey of men revealed that, when it comes to their health, their number one concern is prostate cancer. This is with due cause, as it is estimated that about one in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during their lifetime. Native Hawaiian kāne are especially at risk, as they were found to have a higher rate of prostate cancer compared to most other ethnic groups in Hawaiʻi.
According to research, obesity increases the risk of prostate cancer. It is the most impactful lifestyle-related risk of prostate cancer. And it is a risk that men can do something about, as opposed to other risks, such as age, family history, and genetics.
There are a range of diets that claim to work for weight loss. Many work short-term, but the weight is quickly gained back over time. However, one study that has continued to monitor over 10,000 people since 1994, has revealed four key habits of those who have lost weight and kept it off.
Besides eating a low-fat diet, successful “losers” tend to:
- Eat breakfast every day. Eating breakfast decreases the chance that you will overeat or snack throughout the day. It provides the energy needed to be more productive and active. Breakfast eaters also tend to make healthier choices compared to those who skip.
- Weigh themselves at least once a week. This is about self-awareness, as people tend to underestimate the amount they eat and don’t realize how quickly their weight can go up.
- Watch less than 10 hours of TV per week. The more time spent watching TV, the less time spent being active. Some studies show that the light given off by your TV (or computer) can slow your metabolism.
- Exercise about one hour per day, on average. This could mean running or swimming, but it also means working in your yard, surfing, walking the dog, and cleaning your house – keeping busy.
Besides managing weight, including certain foods in your diet may also help to maintain good prostate health.
Foods that can decrease prostate cancer risk include green tea, soy, and lycopene-containing foods. Cooked tomatoes are especially high in lycopene. It is also found in guava, watermelon, grapefruit, papaya, and bell peppers. Add leafy green vegetables, nuts, seeds, cabbage, bok choy, and broccoli to your diet as well, which all contain prostate cancer-fighting nutrients.
At the same time, limit those foods that may increase risk. This includes dairy products and animal products. They affect those hormones that play a role in cancer development.
Managing one’s weight is a multigenerational effort, as cancer can take many years, even decades, to develop. Dietary habits are learned in childhood and often followed into adulthood. In light of this, it is never too early to begin encouraging your keiki to eat healthy and learn good lifelong health habits.