Now that "Movember" is here, we want to shine a light on men's health.
Did you know, men are less likely to seek medical care than women? They put off annual exams and see a doc only for emergencies.
Meanwhile, 72% of men have two or more unhealthy habits, such as smoking, poor diet, excessive drinking, lack of sleep, and sedentary lifestyle (source).
The result? Chronic illness and premature death.
At work, men with health issues show decreased productivity and may end up going on long-term disability. No one wins if health is taken for granted.
Today we want to talk about why it pays to boost your male employees' health quotient.
Why Focus on Prostate Cancer?
Being the most common cancer in men, prostate cancer is a top men’s health issue.
In Canada alone, 11 men die each day from prostate cancer and 21,300 men will be diagnosed with the disease this year. Although family history, genetic factors, and race are significant uncontrollable risk factors, there are some controllable risk factors, too:
Workplace Stress: One study found a correlation between prolonged workplace stress and increased risk of developing prostate cancer before age 65.
Unhealthy lifestyle: Smoking, poor diet, and being sedentary all increase prostate cancer risk.
How Prostate Cancer Affects Your Company
In a 2018 study by IBI on disability leaves for five common types of cancer, prostate cancer had the lowest costs for short-term disability leaves compared to the other types of cancers. But, if a short-term leave becomes a long-term disability claim, prostate cancer costs skyrocket to become the highest among all.
To learn about the cost implications of chronic illness, see: What are the Costs of Chronic Disease in the Workplace?
Because of these costs, it’s important to raise awareness of prostate cancer. You will keep your employees happier and healthier while preventing a big hit to your business.
Be Proactive in Promoting Employee Health
Let's face it. Providing health benefits is expensive. And costs will continue to rise.
It's up to you to be proactive—to support employees while protecting your bottom line. While you can't control the costs of drugs and procedures, you can do your part in men's preventive health.
How Implementing a Workplace Wellness Program Can Help
To effectively promote employee health, impIement a workplace wellness program.
A workplace wellness program is customizable and, with a formalized program, it's more likely that your company will follow through on health-oriented initiatives. Don't let "good ideas" get stuck on the drawing board.
4 Ways to Reduce Prostate Cancer Risk With a Wellness Program
If you do highlight men's health this month, here are four ways to help employees to reduce the risk of prostate cancer.
And guess what: these recommendations will improve everyone's health, male and female.
1. Teach Employees About Healthy Eating
In your program, include nutrition education to teach employees which foods to eat—and which to avoid—to prevent cancer. For example, eat a low-fat diet that includes fish and lots of fruits and vegetables. Such basic rules might seem obvious, but do the majority actually abide by them?
In addition to a quality diet, the timing of consumption might also play a part. A recent study suggests that eating dinner close to bedtime might increase cancer risk.
2. Help Your Team Take Better Care of Their Mental Health
High stress is never good for us, so reducing stress is another way to decrease the risk of prostate cancer. A wellness program could include stress-reduction education such as mindfulness training, restorative yoga classes, or simple relaxation techniques.
For information on depression, see: How Can Employers Manage Depression in the Workplace?
3. Support Employees in Maintaining a Healthy Weight
Many people could improve their health by losing weight, so we suggest including weight-loss programs, exercise classes, and group activities that employees can easily access and afford. A simple after-work walking group requires minimal expense and organization—but can make exercise sociable and fun.
Encourage employees to make time to exercise. If they accept the importance of "30 minutes a day," they can fit it into their daily schedule. If they start small—for example, with a lunchtime walk—they're less likely to burn out and can eventually progress to more-strenuous exercise.
4. Encourage Your Team to Quit Smoking
Smoking is linked to aggressive forms of prostate cancer that are more likely to spread. These types of cancer are more associated with long-term disability leaves.
Nicotine is an established carcinogen, so getting employees to quit smoking should be a top priority. You could offer support groups or counseling—or work with an established group such as Nicotine Anonymous.
If you have male employees, be clear about their health risks—and urge them to live more healthfully. After all, your company's wellness depends on theirs.
Ready to learn more about the benefits of an employee wellness program?