4 Key Steps to Keep Your Hubby Healthy

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by: Erin Dower
Let's face it — between working long hours and being a seemingly invincible superdad, the man in your life could use some help staying healthy. Whether your husband seems like the picture of good health or the poster child for unhealthy habits, check out these simple tips and recommended screenings. Getting him on the right track now will help bolster his health in his later years.
Keeping Your Husband Healthy, Married couple cooking heart healthy meal for mans diet
Patrol His Plate
Does your guy love meat and potatoes? That's okay — just make sure he chooses the right versions. Processed meats, such as hotdogs and deli cold cuts, and fried and fatty potatoes, such as French fries and chips, are bad for his waistline and his heart health. Instead, he should opt for:
  • Lean meats, such as white meat chicken and turkey, and pork tenderloin, and oily fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and trout
  • Lean red meats (only once or twice a week), such as flank steak, skirt steak, and beef tenderloin, and 90 percent "extra lean" ground beef
  • Baked potatoes with the skin left on for extra fiber
  • Fiber-rich whole-grain pasta and bread, and brown rice

Round out his plate or lunch bag by filling half of it with fruits and vegetables — fresh ones are best. That will help him meet the U.S. Department of Agriculture's new "My Plate" food guidelines. Print out the "My Plate" graphic to keep on your fridge as a reminder to eat well.

Also, remind him to put down the salt shaker, avoid sugary snacks and soda, and steer clear of heart-clogging partially hydrogenated oils found in many packaged foods. Visit our Food channel for healthy recipes and family nutrition tips.

Keeping Your Husband Healthy, Man and son playing football in yard for exercise
Keep Him Moving
Have you heard about the recent study in the journal Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise that found that people who sit for most of the day — as most of us do — were 54% more likely to die of a heart attack?

If your spouse has a desk job, remind him of the importance of taking a few short, quick walks throughout the day to get his blood flowing.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking. It's fine to spread out your exercise by taking a 10-minute brisk walk, three times a day, five days a week to reach the 150 minute total, according to the CDC. Playing outdoor games with your kids is another great way to get him moving and relieve his 9-to-5 stress.

Keeping Your Husband Healthy, Man checking his own blood pressure to stay healthy
Know His Heart-Health Digits
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for American men, and half of the men who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no warning signs. Knowing your man's numbers from important heart health screenings could save his life.

Knowing his body mass index (BMI) is a key sign of whether he is in good cardiovascular health. A BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is ideal.

Other important numbers to know include his:

  • Blood pressure - This should be lower than 120/80 mm Hg. Have it checked every one to two years, or more frequently if his numbers have been high in the past.
  • Cholesterol - A total cholesterol level of 200 mg/dL is ideal.
  • Have it checked starting at age 35, or earlier if he uses tobacco, is obese, has diabetes or high blood pressure, or has a personal or family history of heart problems.
  • Blood glucose - Blood glucose levels are a marker for diabetes, which can go hand in hand with heart disease. Adults ages 45 and older should consider having their blood glucose level tested every three years, or more often if they are overweight or have heart disease.

Men ages 45 and older should also ask their doctor if they should take aspirin to help prevent heart disease.

Keeping Your Husband Healthy, Woman putting sunscreen on man for cancer prevention
Curb His Cancer Risk
Staying on track with cancer screenings may help extend your hubby's life. See if he is due for these screenings:
  • Skin cancer and other cancers - All men ages 20 and older should have periodic doctor visits that include a cancer-related check-up for cancers of the skin, thyroid, oral cavity, lymph nodes, and testes.
  • Colorectal cancer - Screenings should start at age 50, or earlier if he has a family history of it. Colonoscopies certainly aren't pleasant, but they are only needed once every 10 years.
  • Prostate cancer - A prostate screening many not be necessary for your man, unless his father or brother had prostate cancer before age 65. He should talk with his doctor at age 45 about what is right for him.

He can slash his cancer risk by quitting tobacco use, limiting his alcohol consumption to a max of two drinks a day, eating well, exercising, wearing sunscreen, and visiting his doctor regularly.

Many men avoid medical check-ups like the plague. Remind your guy that visiting his doctor at least every two years, taking any prescribed medications, and having recommended screenings will help him avoid medical attention down the road.