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dad doctor taking son to work

Do you find that there are simply not enough hours in each day to achieve all the things that you want to do? Life as a dad is certainly busy, and this can leave you with very little time to get everything done. This doesn't mean that you can ignore your health though. It is essential that dads - even the busiest ones - take care of their health and set a good example to the whole family.

If you have a to-do list that is full of tasks that you need to complete, a full-time job, and a busy family life, the chances are that you don’t have a lot of free time. As a parent, you probably spend most of your time trying to balance the many different tasks that you need to complete. Being a parent in the modern world is certainly a balancing act and undoubtedly keeps you busy. Needing to focus on all the practicalities of family life can often mean that your own needs come last. Usually, this means that your health and wellbeing are sacrificed.

Taking steps to improve your health and wellbeing is not always easy, especially when you are busy. However, shifting your focus a little to give your health the attention it deserves is always worthwhile. If you are struggling to prioritize your health, the following tips should help you to regain your focus.

Dad Health: A Silent Concern That Impacts The Family

As a dad, your health is not just about you. It's a ripple effect. If you're healthy, it impacts everyone, especially the kiddos. They're watching, learning, and mimicking. So, your health patterns and routines matter. Big time.

Your Health, Their Future

Let's break it down:

  1. Exercise Habits: If you're a couch potato, guess what? Your kids are more likely to follow suit. But if you're active, they're likely to be active too.
  2. Eating Habits: Do you grab fast food on the go or cook healthy meals at home? Your kids are taking notes.
  3. Mental Health: Your attitude, stress levels, and overall mental health can affect your children's mental health.
  4. Preventive Care: Regular check-ups and proactive health measures can teach your children the importance of preventive care.

Healthy Dad = Healthy Family

Here's the deal. When you're healthy, you're setting up your family for better health. You're the role model. The leader of the pack. The superhero they look up to. So, your health matters more than you might think.

The Impact of Unhealthy Habits

On the flip side, unhealthy habits can lead to:

  • Increased risk of chronic diseases for you and potentially your children
  • Higher healthcare costs for the family
  • Stress and anxiety for the entire family
  • Lower quality of life

Take the Lead

So, dads, it's time to step up. Lead by example. Show your kids what it means to live a healthy lifestyle. It's not just about you anymore. It's about them too. And who knows? Maybe your healthy habits will rub off on them, setting them up for a healthier future.

The Bottom Line

Your health is a family affair. It's a silent concern that can have a big impact. So, take care of yourself. For you and for them. Because when you're healthy, they're more likely to be healthy too.

young man sitting in a hospital waiting room

Men's Health and Doctor Visits: Unraveling the Reluctance To Seek Medical Care

Men may try to blow things off by saying, “I’m just fine” … but this is one of our weaknesses and not a strength that needs to be promoted. It isn’t fair but far too many young men were told things like “boys don’t cry” and “if it doesn’t hurt you aren’t working hard enough”. I was raised this way too and the impact is obvious in terms of my own personal reluctance to seek medical attention.

While I recognize this pattern in my own behavior, I’m clearly not alone.

Men's reluctance to visit doctors and prioritize their health has been a topic of interest for many researchers. This has resulted in some fascinating studies and surveys about men’s health and we’ve collected some of those below.

Men might be reluctant to seek proper medical attention for several reasons, as revealed by various studies:

  1. Support and Social Roles: Men often receive most of their support for health concerns from female partners, not from male friends. Their pattern of seeking support is usually indirect. Personal barriers related to traditional social role characteristics include a sense of immunity and immortality, difficulty relinquishing control, and a belief that seeking help is weak or unmasculine​​.
  2. Perceived Vulnerability, Fear, and Denial: These factors significantly influence whether men seek help. Men tend to seek help for specific problems rather than general health concerns. There's a trend of delayed help-seeking when men become ill, and traditional masculine behavior is often cited as a reason for this delay​​​​.
  3. Systematic Barriers: These include issues related to time and access, such as having to state the reason for a visit and the lack of a male care provider. These barriers can dissuade men from seeking medical attention​​.
  4. Cultural and Childhood Influences: A significant percentage of men were told as children that men shouldn't complain about health issues. This early indoctrination can lead to a long-term reluctance to seek help​​.
  5. Embarrassment and Denial About Health Status: Many men feel embarrassed to discuss certain health issues with their doctors. Additionally, some don't want to hear they need to change their diet or lifestyle, or they aren't ready to face a diagnosis and would rather not know if they have health issues​​.

These studies offer a comprehensive view of the multifaceted reasons behind men's reluctance to seek medical help. The first study is "Why don't men seek help? Family physicians' perspectives on help-seeking behavior in men" (available at PubMed)​​​​. The second is "Men and health help-seeking behavior: a literature review" (available at PubMed)​​​​. The third source is a survey by the Cleveland Clinic, "Men will do Almost Anything to Avoid Going to the Doctor" (available at Cleveland Clinic Newsroom)​​.

"Detecting Health Issues in Dads: Tips and Techniques"

Many parents find that their own needs come last, and this often means that any health concerns they do have are simply brushed aside. When you are busy, it can be easy to ignore aches, pains, and signs that you are not feeling at your best. Unfortunately, few health issues resolve themselves, and when neglected, these can often worsen. 

If you have noticed that you don’t feel your best lately, or you have a health concern that you have open will resolve itself, now is the time to take action. Ignoring the issue will only result in further problems, and the older you get, the more these problems may impact your life. 

Pausing for a moment to allow yourself time to pay attention to your body and acknowledge which aspects of your health are causing you issues can be invaluable. Doing this allows you to identify where the issues lie and how you can act to resolve them.

Common Health Problems in DadsSymptomsTests to DetectTreatments
Heart Disease Chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue Blood tests, EKG, Stress test Medication, lifestyle changes, surgery
Prostate Cancer Frequent urination, blood in urine, pelvic discomfort PSA blood test, Biopsy Surgery, radiation, chemotherapy
Diabetes Increased thirst, frequent urination, unexplained weight loss Blood sugar test, A1C test Diet changes, medication, insulin therapy
Depression Persistent sadness, loss of interest, fatigue Psychological evaluation Therapy, medication
Osteoporosis Back pain, loss of height, stooped posture Bone density scan Medication, lifestyle changes
Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) Headache, shortness of breath, nosebleeds Blood pressure measurement Lifestyle changes, medication

Of course, not all health-related concerns are visible and easy to detect. Sometimes, there may be no obvious reason that you don’t feel your best. Instead, you may simply have a collection of seemingly unrelated symptoms to deal with. If you are experiencing issues such as fatigue, low mood, and a lack of motivation, you may just assume that it is the result of being a busy parent. However, there may be a different reason for the way that you are feeling. Issues like these can sometimes be caused by hormone imbalances. In this case, the issues can often be resolved using male hormone replacement therapy, and you should start to feel better relatively quickly once you have started the treatment.

The sooner you acknowledge that you don’t feel your best, the sooner you can take action and get back to feeling healthy once again. 

father and son running in the park

Be A Role Model: Dad's Health Influences Children

When finding time to focus on your health is challenging, it is an excellent idea to get the entire family involved. This is the perfect opportunity to be a positive role model for your kids and to show them the importance of living a healthy lifestyle.                

There are a few ways that you can improve your health while also getting the kids involved and being a positive role model. Firstly, you could make family time your opportunity to exercise. If you have no time to hit the gym, why not grab a ball and gather the kids to go and play some soccer together? Alternatively, you could head off on a family bike ride or even to the pool for a family swim to help you pack more exercise into your busy schedule without compromising on spending quality time with the kids.

Almost all kids love to cook, and you can make cooking another healthy activity that you all do together. Getting the kids to help you prepare nutritious foods that taste great is an excellent way to ensure that everyone in the family is eating a healthy balanced diet.   

Online Resources About Men’s Health That Dads Should Check Out

 Men’s health is no joke and busy dads need to take this into consideration no matter how much work they have piling up or how many family commitments they have. You might want to be superman but your family depends on your to be both strong as well as around to support them so don’t burn yourself out trying too hard!

  1. American Mobile: Offers resources on a variety of men's health conditions, including prostate and testicular cancer.
  2. The Skill Collective: Highlights hot issues in Men's Mental Health and provides professional phone and online support.
  3. Health.gov.au: Provides a list of resources, including audio and video resources, about men's health.
  4. Wellbeing Info: Supports women experiencing menopause and emphasizes its importance for men as well.
  5. Men's Health Foundation: Offers online health assessments, services, and information covering common men's health conditions.
  6. HeadsUpGuys: A list of recommended resources, websites, apps, and videos about men's mental health.
  7. Healthy Male: Provides easy-to-understand fact sheets for supporting someone with a health condition.
  8. BeTheDifferenceSCV.org: Provides a link to a free, quick, and confidential screen for various mental health issues.
  9. The Middlewood Partnership: Offers self-help resources, including frequently asked questions about men's health.                                                                                                                                              

Taking steps to improve your own wellness while also spending time with your kids is a great way to improve your health and fitness without sacrificing family time. By getting the kids involved in your lifestyle changes, you will also be setting them up for a lifetime of positive, healthy habits.         

Written by:
#MenWhoBlog MemberBlogging GuruThought Leader

James' passion for exploration and sense of duty to his community extends beyond himself. This means he is dedicated to providing a positive role model for other men and especially younger guys that need support so that they can thrive and be future positive contributors to society. This includes sharing wisdom, ideas, tips, and advice on subjects that all men should be familiar with, including: family travel, men's health, relationships, DIY advice for home and yard, car care, food, drinks, and technology. Additionally, he's a travel advisor and a leading men's travel influencer who has been featured in media ranging from New York Times to the Chicago Tribune, and LA Times. He's also been cited by LA Weekly "Top Travel Bloggers To Watch 2023" and featured by Muck Rack: "Top 10 Outdoor Journalists for 2022".

He and his wife Heather live in St Joseph, Michigan - across the lake from Chicago.