Category Archives: Mens Health

Education Linked to Better Health

While more education is no guarantee of anything these days, there is one area where more schooling has been shown to offer a benefit. And that is education linked to your own personal health.

A new report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Commission to Build a Healthier America finds that those with more education report better health than those with less education.

In every state, adults with less education are more likely to rate their health as less than very good, as opposed to those adults who’ve graduated from college.

The Commission looked at data from the U.S. Census Bureau as well as Centers for Disease Control surveys done between 2005 and 2007 where over 174,000 adults from 25-74 rated their own health as either excellent, very good, good, fair or poor.

This is the first attempt at ranking U.S. states based on reports of health and education achieved.

According to the findings, the more education a person has, regardless of ethnicity or race, the more likely they were to report better health.

Overall, 45% of the survey respondents rated their health as less than very good, with those who hadn’t graduated from high school being 2.5 times more likely to be in less than very good health as were graduates from college.

High school graduates, who did not receive college education, are almost twice as likely to be in less than very good health as adults who had graduated from college.

Even a few years of education was enough to make a difference in how healthy a person believed themselves to be.

And though disparity in education level and reported health status exists in every state, there are some places where it’s particularly strong.

In Mississippi for example, 73% of high school dropouts reported their health as less than very good, while only 37% of the state’s college graduates did the same.

California is another state with a large gap in numbers between less and more educated citizens.

This report adds to the growing body of evidence that social factors (like education) do have an impact on health.

The Commission is convinced there’s more to staying healthy than focusing on health care. Education, income and other factors aside from things considered by traditional medicine may also help determine how healthy someone is, and how long they might live.

Less education often leads to fewer job opportunities, lower incomes and lots more financial stress.

What jobs there are less likely to offer health insurance, so less educated workers will naturally put off preventative care. Sick days in these jobs are more likely to be unpaid, so less educated workers force themselves to go in because they just can’t afford to stay home.

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Education Has Huge Impact On How Long and How Well You Live continued

And speaking of homes, those with less income have much more limited choices and may be forced to live in an unhealthy home or a neighborhood with more potential risks.

If you have more education your job prospects are probably better, the pay and benefits allowing for you to attend to your health, and the health of your children.

You get paid if you stay home sick. Your doctor may take you more seriously, and you’re better able to be your own advocate in terms of care and treatment options.

What’s more, you have many more choices in terms of where you live and how you live, your home is more apt to be well constructed and in a safe area.

The Commission has made a point to offer ten recommendations to Americans for improving their health that are based on two ideas, that people need to make healthier choices for themselves and their families, and society needs to remove obstacles and promote opportunities to help people make these types of choices.

Until these goals are reached, all of us will keep falling far below the level of good health we might have.

To your good health,

Kirsten Whittaker
Daily Health Bulletin Editor

A Half Glass Of Wine Boosts Life Expectancy In Men

A new study suggests that about a half a glass of wine each day might just be good for you, increasing life span by as much as 5 years.

The findings of the Dutch research appear online in the April 2009 issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health and are the first to suggest that alcohol consumption, in moderation, may actually help a person live longer.

The Dutch researchers evaluated data on 1,373 randomly selected men, all part of the Zutphen Study (named for an industrial town in the Netherlands) that began in 1960.

The researchers followed the subjects from 1960 to 2000, tracking weight, diet, cigarette smoking, the diagnosis of serious illness (heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer) and other data, along with their drinking habits.

All the subjects were born between 1900 and 1920, and enrolled in the study at age 40.

The team looked at the impact of all types of drinking, how much the men drank and the type of alcohol – beer, wine or hard liquor.

How long the men drank was also recorded and included in the research.

The proportion of the subjects who drank alcohol nearly doubled from 45% in 1960 at the beginning of the study to 86% by its end in 2000.

The proportion of men who drank wine shot up from a mere 2% in 1960 to a respectable 44% at the end of the forty-year study.

Over the period of the research, 1,130 of the subjects died, half of them from heart disease.

The conclusion is that light, long term drinking of all types of alcohol extended lifespan in middle-aged men.

Drinking beer, wine or spirits increased life expectancy by just about 2.5 years, compared to men who didn’t drink any alcohol.

The amount of intake was small, no more than 20 grams (or 0.7 ounces) a day. Drinking above this level daily also extended life expectancy by nearly two years as opposed to the lifespan of nondrinkers.

The positive effects from drinking held up in spite of diet and other lifestyle habits, even the socioeconomic levels of the subjects.

Wine was best in terms of extending life expectancy, however. Men who drank only wine, and less than half a glass, lived 2.5 years longer than those who drank either beer or hard liquor.

Men who drank wine lived almost 5 years longer than those subjects who didn’t drink any alcohol at all.

Wine drinking was strongly associated with a lower risk of death from coronary artery disease, and death from all causes, though the work didn’t differentiate between types of wine – red or white.

Dutch nutritionist Dr. Martinette Streppel explains, “The cardio-protective effects of alcohol only held up for light consumption in middle-aged men.”

Lots of other studies have found similar benefits according to study author Streppel from the division of human nutrition at Wageningen University in the Netherlands.

The length and detail of her study is important for lots of reasons, “The main strength of our study was the collection of detailed information on the consumption of different alcohol beverages at each of seven measurement rounds,” she continues.

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A Half Glass Of Wine Boosts Life Expectancy In Men continued

While the benefits of this work can’t automatically be applied to women, wine, especially the red variety, does have polyphenolic compounds that might account for the heart healthy affects.

Beyond drinking wine, beer or spirits in moderation, there are other things your doctor will tell you reduce your risk of heart disease.

Remember the importance of not smoking, being active as many days of the week as possible, eating a natural, balanced diet and keeping your weight at a healthy number.

To your good health,

Kirsten Whittaker
Daily Health Bulletin Editor

Lose Abdominal Fat to Increase Male Libido

Has research uncovered a biological reason for a lackluster performance in the bedroom? It would seem so, at least if you’re an obese man. However the good news is it shows to increase male libido can be as simple as to lose abdominal fat.

A new study, about to appear in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, finds that the heavier a man is, the greater the hormonal changes in his body and the worse his intimate life tends to be.

And while obesity in men has been tied to low levels of hormones like testosterone, high levels of estrogen, impaired fertility and lower quality of intimate relationships in other research, science couldn’t say what happens if those men lose the extra weight. Will things improve?

“Previous studies have found that obesity is correlated to lower sperm count and can be associated with infertility, but we wanted to know if obesity was biologically associated with an unsatisfying sex life, and if so, could it be reversible,” explains Dr. Ahmad Hammoud of the University of Utah who was the lead author on the work. “Our results show that the answer to both questions may be yes.”

The subjects, 64 obese men who were participating in the Utah Obesity Study, had testing to check their levels of reproductive hormones, as well as being measured and their body mass index (BM) calculated at the start of the study, and then again two years later.

The participants also filled out questionnaires about the impact of added weight on their quality of life.

On average, the subjects weighed in at 333 pounds, and had BMIs of 46, a full 16 points over 30, the number considered the start of the obese category.

Bariatric surgery expert George Bray, MD, chief of the Clinical Obesity Center at Louisiana State University has found in his own work that testosterone levels drop quite a bit in men with BMIs over 40.

During the study, 22 of the subjects underwent Roux-en-Y, the most common form of gastric bypass surgery in the U.S.

These men lost anywhere from 40 to 100 pounds. The subjects who lost weight due to the surgery were found to have increases in both total and free testosterone levels, lower levels of estradol, and reported a better quality to their sex lives at the end of the two year study.

This finding may bring medicine a new understanding of how carrying (or losing) extra weight impacts a man’s sex life.

The team also noted that lower testosterone levels and ratings for the quality of a man’s sex life were linked to increases in BMI.

So the heavier a man was, the more likely he was to have poor quality intimate relations.

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Why Being Overweight Can Ruin Intimate Relations, And How To Turn Things Around

Of course more work is needed to solidify a cause and effect relationship. But the study opens the door to new treatments, perhaps with testosterone, to help improve the sex lives of morbidly obese men.

In the meantime, if you’re overweight, losing as little as 5% of your body weight (multiply your weight by .05) can cut your risk for some dangerous diseases, and have you feeling healthier too.

When it comes to how to lose abdominal fat, slow and steady wins this race – you want to aim for a loss of 1 to 2 pounds (not more than 3) a week.

This type of weight loss will also require getting more active – 30 minutes of moderately difficult physical activity each day, or as many days of the week as you can manage.

By getting up and getting active, obese men might just find they increase male libido.