We celebrate Father’s Day this weekend and all month long we’ll keep the health spotlight on the gentlemen with Men’s Health Month. Obesity in men is not just a superficial or cosmetic issue but a critical health concern that dramatically impacts life expectancy.

The second-leading cause of preventable death in the United States, obesity affects men quite differently than women, though the prevalence of obesity is about the same in both sexes. For example, men tend to carry excess weight in their abdominal area, which can lead to greater risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke and sleep apnea. Furthermore, a recently published study found that men who are obese in their 20s are much more likely to develop those life threatening health issues by middle age, and some died prematurely before reaching age 55. In addition, research has found that obese men are at increased risk for infertility and are more likely to have lower sperm counts than males at a healthy weight.

Aside from the advice that I’m sure you’ve heard time and again – get moving, eat better and less! Here are a few more vital tips for men’s health in achieving a healthy weight:

Sleep More

I say this because I’m quite certain you’re not getting enough sleep and it’s an important habit for a healthy lifestyle. Insufficient sleep is directly related to a number of chronic conditions, including obesity. Make sure you’re getting restful sleep that lasts between 7–9 hours each and every night.


Know Your Numbers

Blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol (good and bad), body mass index – it’s a lot to keep track of. But these important numbers are indicators of your overall health and can also tell you and your physician about your health risks. Ask your doctor which tests you need, how often you need them, and options for how you can move your numbers into a healthy range if necessary.


Say No to More Sugar

A Centers for Disease Control study showed that men consume more calories per day from added sugars in their diets than women. Increased consumption of sweeteners added to food can be directly linked to a decreased intake of essential nutrients and an increase in body weight. Be mindful of nutrition labels when food shopping and increase your fresh produce consumption to limit the amount of added sugars from processed foods in your diet.


Know When You Start

To help you stop unhealthy eating habits, pay attention to when you start. According to a Cornell University study, like women, men turn to food for comfort as a coping mechanism following negative events and experiences. In contrast, men also turn to food for celebratory occasions and events, usually indulging in higher protein foods such as steak. Knowing when you tend to overeat can help you identify healthier alternatives when you’d otherwise be sorrowfully snacking away or reveling without caution for calories.


With such high risks associated with obesity in men, it’s important to take action in addressing and managing weight as early as possible for the betterment of your long-term health. If you remain severely overweight after non–surgical approaches to weight loss have failed, surgery may be the next step. To learn more about weight-loss surgery and find answers to some frequently asked questions,click here.Happy Men’s Health Month and cheers to living your life in good health, gentlemen!