Male Health News April 2016

Research suggests eating too much red meat can increase your ‘biological age’

abstract-1239434_1920Scientists from the University of Glasgow have identified that eating too much red meat, in lieu of a more balanced diet with fruit and vegetables can age the body faster.

As reported in the Guardian, the researchers analysed the eating habits of a range of participants within Greater Glasgow. Those participants with the most accelerated biological aging were related to their heavy red meat consumption, leading to an increase in serum phosphate levels in their blood. The study, published in the journal Aging, showed this ‘aging’ was correlated with reduced kidney function, and even the beginnings of kidney disease.

In other words, this offers more evidence that a diet lacking in fruit and vegetables, and overly reliant on red meat is not going to be good for you in the long term! If you are looking to eat more healthily, you can find advice and information from a range of sources including NHS Choices, the British Nutrition Foundation, and the British Heart Foundation.

(29th April 2016)


Healthier lifestyles reducing men’s risk of dementia

old-people-616718_1920A generation of men taking better care of their health has significantly reduced the number of dementia cases reported, compared with previous projections.

As reported in the Telegraph, , researchers have discovered that there are 40,000 fewer cases a year than predicted. In a study published in Nature Communications, The Cambridge Institute of Public Health has followed up on research undertaken in the early 1990s, which predicted there would 250,000 new cases a year by this time. However, latest figures indicate a 20% reduction, with fewer than 210,000 cases registered per year now. No changes were seen in women’s rates of dementia, which the researchers suggest is because women were generally healthier than men at the start of this time period.

The researchers attribute this reduction to better lifestyles amongst men, chiefly reductions in smoking, blood pressure and cholesterol control. Professor Carol Brayne, Director of the Cambridge Institute of Public Health, said: “Our evidence shows that the so-called dementia ‘tsunami’ is not an inevitability. We can help turn the tide if we take action now.” The researchers emphasise the need to ramp up public health efforts to reduce people’s risk of developing dementia. Alzheimer’s Research UK also cautioned that the UK’s rising levels of obesity and diabetes threaten to undermine this trend, if not tackled.

If you are worried about your risks of developing dementia, or are currently supporting someone with dementia, there is support and information available at Alzheimer’s Research UK and the Alzheimer’s Society.

(April 22nd 2016)


One-year diets more likely to have lasting effects

Researchers from the University of Copenhagen have found that dieting for one year can causes chemical changes to the body, making it easier to sustain weight loss.appetite-1239056_1920

As reported by the Independent, diets are often associated with a surge in hunger-causing hormones in the body. This is because diets can trigger the body’s survival mechanisms, evolved to combat food shortages. This can make it very hard for people to maintain ‘diet discipline’, and their cells begin to store more calories as fat.

Published in the International Journal of Obesity, the study found that the bodies of 20 obese participants adapted after one year of strict dieting, so that they produced less hunger-producing hormones, and more hormones which suppress appetite.

If you’re aiming to eat healthier, or even lose weight through dieting, there are great resources available on sites such as BBC Good Food (who have a good article on a balanced diet for men), NHS Live Well or the British Nutrition Foundation.

(15th April 2016)


World Health Organization: Diabetes now affects nearly one in 11 adults

nurse-527615_1920The ‘unrelenting march’ of diabetes has meant that global cases had almost quadrupled to 422 million in 2014 compared with 1980, as reported by BBC News.

The Global Report on Diabetes from the World Health Organization (WHO) makes it clear that diabetes is steadily increasing everywhere, not just in rich nations. The condition, commonly understood as the inability to control levels of glucose in the blood, is associated with a wide range of serious effects including increased risk of heart attack, kidney failure, blindness, and stroke. Unless “drastic action” is taken, the numbers affected globally will continue to increase. Margaret Chan, WHO Director General was quoted by the Guardian:

“If we are to make any headway in halting the rise in diabetes, we need to rethink our daily lives: to eat healthily, be physically active and avoid excessive weight gain”

Don’t be a statistic – learn and understand your risk of diabetes on our information page, which has links to other knowledge and help. If you have diabetes and would like more advice or support on managing your condition, good sources include Diabetes UK or NHS Choices.

(8th April 2016)


Awareness that drinking can cause cancer ‘worryingly low’

drinking-63494_640Only 10% of people in England link drinking alcohol with an increased cancer risk, according to a new report from Cancer Research UK.

As reported by the Guardian, drinking alcohol is associated with at least seven types of cancer including bowel, mouth, breast, throat, oesophageal, liver and laryngeal cancer. Most people (80%) knew that drinking alcohol raises the risk of liver cancer, but far fewer knew this could cause breast cancer (which can occur in men as well as women). Only 13% of people mentioned cancer as a health condition that could result from drinking too much alcohol.

Alison Cox, Cancer Research UK’s director of cancer prevention, said: “The link between alcohol and cancer is now well established, and it’s not just heavy drinkers who are at risk. This is reflected in the new guidelines issued by the UK’s Chief Medical Officers that stated that the risk of developing a range of illnesses, including cancer, increased with any amount of alcohol you drink.”

Cox added: “If the new guidelines are to make a difference and change drinking habits in the UK, national health campaigns are needed to provide clear information about the health risks of drinking alcohol.”

If you are worried about your cancer risk, there is information and support available from your local GP, and organisations such as Cancer Research UK, Macmillan and NHS Choices. If you are concerned that you are drinking too much, you can get help from a range of charities including Alcohol Concern and Addaction.

(1st April 2016)