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Men in Arizona Think They Are Healthy. Are They?

Monday, June 14, 2010 Menīs Health News J E 4
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PHOENIX, June 14 Eighty-six percent of Arizona's men say their general health is good, very good or excellent, according to the 2009 Behavioral Risk Factor Survey, contradicting a ranking by the Center for Disease Control's (CDC) Survey, which lists Arizona 30th in men's health nationally.

"I'm not surprised by the ranking or the perception among men about their health," says Wayne Tormala, Men's Health Coordinator for the Arizona Department of Health Services. "The CDC survey is rightly focused on diseases considered silent killers. You don't see cholesterol clogging your arteries or in many cases even have symptoms of prostate cancer. Then WHAM! One day you have a heart attack or get the cancer diagnosis. Now you are talking about treatment options, when you could have done things to prevent this or at least found out about it at an earlier stage."

According to the CDC, 73 percent of men in Arizona are overweight or obese, and compared to the U.S. average, 12 percent more men in Arizona have high cholesterol. Almost half of Arizona men skip regular exercise and three out of four don't eat enough fruits and vegetables.

More than one in five men in Arizona report that their activities are limited because of physical, mental, or emotional problems, and men in Arizona rank worse than the national average in stroke, overweight and obesity, high blood pressure, heavy drinking, and getting the recommended levels of exercise.

Many of the risk factors for chronic disease are in men's own control according to Tormala. "Men's Health Week is a national event June 14-19 this year," says Tormala. "We are marking the week by sharing important facts with every Arizonan, especially men. I'm challenging the men of Arizona to 'Man Up' -- start increasing physical activity, eating a healthier diet, and having the age appropriate screenings you need. It's time to give some attention to yourself and your health."

The survey also highlighted certain risk behaviors concluding that more men than women smoke and drink in Arizona, and in fact, men in Arizona have nearly 14 percent higher 'heavy drinker' rates than the national average. Twenty-one percent say they are binge drinkers.

"Alcohol and tobacco use are addictions," says Tormala. "Men are more likely to think 'going cold turkey' is the best way to break an addiction, but especially in the case of tobacco addiction we know that the better way to go is with a planned quit attempt and the support of nicotine replacement therapies and coaching or support."

Men's health is important at the Arizona Smokers' Helpline. They know that men are more likely than women to smoke and recently launched a new campaign targeting men. "Our new commercials are placed in programming men watch, like sports and the news," says Stephen Michael, Director of the Arizona Smokers' Helpline. "The commercials have a direct and immediate call to action. This approach is appealing to men," Michael says. "It's no mushy stuff trying to get guys all emotional about quitting. It's just when you are ready, we can help, here's the number. Call!"

The Arizona Smokers' Helpline offers free quit coaching via toll-free telephone at 1-800-55-66-222, or online at www.ASHLine.org. When people call, they are also eligible to receive free nicotine replacement therapies (gum, patches, lozenges).

Fact Sheet

A copy of the State of Men's Health in Arizona fact sheet and can be found at www.tobaccofreearizona.com/resources

About Men's Health Week www.menshealthweek.org

The purpose of national Men's Health Week is to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. This week gives health care providers, public policy makers, the media, and individuals an opportunity to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury.

About Wayne Tormala

Wayne Tormala is the Bureau Chief for the Bureau of Tobacco and Chronic Disease at the Arizona Department of Health Services. He has also been designated by the Agency as the state health department's Men's Health Coordinator.

About Arizona's Smokers' Helpline www.ASHLine.org

The Arizona Smokers' Helpline offers effective, research-based tobacco use cessation services to Arizona residents through personalized telephone coaching services in English and Spanish. For more information on ASHLine services call toll-free 1-800-55-66-222 or visit www.ASHLine.org .

SOURCE Arizona Department of Health Services
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