Lorna Vanderhaeghe, BSc
So this month when we honour our fathers - fathers themselves must honour their bodies so they may live long and be healthy. Start today! Take a multivitamin with minerals that contains calcium, zinc, and selenium.
When I was a child Father’s Day always came with a bit of sadness as I was raised in a single parent family with my mother.
I never knew my father. Then just before the birth of my first child, he died of a rare disease. Once my own children were born Father’s Day gained an entirely new meaning. My children loved their father and he loved and supported them in return; building forts under the kitchen table, teaching them about nature during many walks in the park, lending a knee to cuddle upon, and coaching their baseball teams. I loved watching my children with their father and want him to live a long life so they can enjoy each other long after they have children of their own.
We know that men don’t survive as long as women do. According to Statistics Canada, life expectancy of a male is 75.4 years. Men in British Columbia live longer (76.2 years) while those in Nunavut die younger (68.3 years). But men’s disability-free lifespan is much shorter, at 66.9 years, which means that the last decade of life is limited by diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis.
Men are also developing heart disease at a much younger age - under 45. Remember the first sign of a heart attack is often death. Males have a higher risk of stroke than women do, and are more likely to die of diabetes. One in eight men have osteoporosis, and the same statistic is true for prostate cancer. Since 1988, diagnoses of prostate cancer have risen by 30 per cent, while death rates have dropped by 10 per cent. One in 11 men will develop lung cancer and one in 15 will develop colorectal cancer. On a positive note, men have lower rates of arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s disease than women do. Fewer men smoke than women and lung cancer death rates in men are declining. Married men live longer and have a reduced risk of disease compared to single men.
To reverse the bad statistics above we, mothers and wives, can take better care of the males in the family. And, yes, men need to be more responsible for their health too, so implement a healthy lifestyle now - don’t wait until disease strikes. The late Dr. Emanuel Cheraskin, DMD, MD, an orthomolecular doctor, once told me his research showed that if we would just ensure that every little boy got a multivitamin with added zinc and selenium, and these nutrients were taken into adulthood, prostate cancer rates would be cut in half. More recent research proves that the incidence of osteoporosis could be cut dramatically if we all, men and women, took calcium supplements during the teens and early twenties when our bones are developing. We know that eating good fats, lots of vegetables, and fibre reduces the risk of colorectal cancer, heart disease, and stroke.
So this month when we honour our fathers - fathers themselves must honour their bodies so they may live long and be healthy. Start today! Take a multivitamin with minerals that contains calcium, zinc, and selenium. Throw out all the bad oils in your cupboards and switch to the healthy oils like flax, pumpkin, and extra-virgin olive oil. Use coconut butter instead of margarine. Laugh and play with your children. Dance with your wife around the living room floor. You owe it to yourself to live a long, disability-free life.