It is no secret that Arkansans love to duck hunt and have a heightened sense of passion for the sport. Combining that passion with improving men’s health is a challenge local enthusiasts accepted with the fourth annual Arkansas Duck Derby, an event benefiting an initiative to enlighten and commission men to take control of their health.

On average, men visit the doctor less regularly than women. As a result, it should not surprise anyone that American men live sicker and die younger than American women. Dr. David Gremillion of Men’s Health Network coins this fact as the “silent health crisis in America.” Awareness must be raised to address the nationwide contrast between men and women’s quality of health and life, as men are three times more likely to commit suicide than women. Physical and mental wellness do, in fact, go hand-in-hand.

Lack of knowledge regarding associated risks for men, and those risks based on race, age, and family history, is a key contributor to the disconnect in qualities of health. For example, African American men should begin annual prostate cancer screenings five years earlier than others. Many men do not realize that the age to begin colon cancer screenings has moved from 50 to 45.

Men who have quit smoking should begin lung cancer screenings at the same age as current smokers, regardless of how much time has passed since breaking the habit. Education and empowerment are crucial in narrowing the gap for men. The Men’s Health Initiative strives to do exactly that.

Tips for Improving Your Health

  • Visit your doctor. Annual wellness visits can help pinpoint potential risks of cardiovascular disease and other health concerns. Routine exams could be the reason an underlying condition is identified in time to properly treat it.
  • Maintain a healthy waist. A waist circumference exceeding 40 inches can increase your risk of obesity-related diseases. Lowering your calorie intake and raising exercise frequency will aid in preserving a healthy waistline.
  • Kick the bad habits. Smoking exposes you to a plethora of health risks, including emphysema, COPD, and heart disease. Excessive alcohol consumption and recreational drug use can lead to heart attack, stroke, and other dangerous conditions. Your doctor can help develop a plan to quit the unhealthy habits.
  • Check your prostate. After skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer diagnosis among American men, reports the American Cancer Society. If you have trouble urinating, develop pain when you urinate, or notice blood in your urine, it may be a sign of prostate problems. Make an appointment with your doctor.
  • Get moving. Regular exercise is one of the best ways to prevent heart disease. Start with thirty minutes of heart-pumping physical fitness five days a week and work up to adding strength training for two of those days.
  • Eat natural foods. When grocery shopping, stick primarily to the outer perimeter of the store where you’ll find fresh produce, whole foods, and unprocessed items.

Arkansas Duck Derby funds benefit Conway Regional Health System’s men’s health initiative. The fourth annual Arkansas Duck Derby kicks off with a hunt Friday morning, Jan. 6, 2023, with a pre-hunt banquet, live and silent auctions, raffles, food, entertainment and much more to follow. The community is invited to attend the banquet regardless of whether or not individuals are participating in the next day’s festivities. For details, click here.