Wayne Tormala, Men’s Health coordinator for the Arizona Department of Health Services, talks about nationwide health indicators that show Arizona men leading and lagging in various categories.
Ted Simons: Arizona men are quitting tobacco and have some of the lowest cancer rates in the country. That's the good news concerning men's health in our state. Now for the not so good news. Centers for disease control rank Arizona men in the bottom half of overall health in the nation. Joining us now is Wayne Tormala for Arizona health services. Bottom half for overall health in the country. What's going on here?
Wayne Tormala: That's a good country. We're leading the nation, we have over 85,000 men quit smoking last year, which is great. We do have low cancer rates. A lot of people, a lot of men are getting things detected late. They are not getting in for those checkups. We know that over half the men don't get regular checkups, over half the men are overweight or obese, over half the men admit they don't eat enough fruit and vegetables, and don't get regular physical activity. While they think they are doing well in surveys, when we test men we find it's not the case.
Ted Simons: Let's talk about regular checkups, what does that mean? At a certain age should they be more regular? What's going on?
Wayne Tormala: We're talking about age appropriate. At 40 they should have an annual prostate exam or at 50 a colonoscopy. We're talking about inheritance, genetic makeup, do you have a health history. What's in your blood that might be predisposing you to something. Age appropriate and risk appropriate screening.
Ted Simons: 73% of Arizona men are obese?
Wayne Tormala: Overweight or obese.
Ted Simons: 73%?
Wayne Tormala: Three out of four.
Ted Simons: Also likely to have high cholesterol. Why is that?
Wayne Tormala: I think it's linked to diet and activity. If you're not getting a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables and a lot of physical activity, you're more prone to having high cholesterol. If you're not getting screened you might have it and not know it.
Ted Simons: 75% of men in Arizona don't eat enough fruits and vegetables. It's hard to get dudes to eat right, isn't it?
Wayne Tormala: We do have a website called eatwellbewell.org where you can do a find "manly diets." Too often men think eating healthier means I've got eat rabbit food or salads for the rest of my life.
Ted Simons: Give me an example of a manly food that's good for you.
Wayne Tormala: Well, you can eat reasonable portions of lean protein, lean red meat, chicken, fish. The CDC has gone away from the food pyramid now. If a fourth of your plate was fruit about the size of a baseball. There's a manly symbol. About a fourth of your plate is vegetables. A fourth was maybe a six-ounce or 8-ounce piece of lean meat or fish, you've got a healthy diet going.
Ted Simons: There's a lot of information out there about how much exercise, how vigorous, how often you should do it per week. The numbers that are thrown at you, you don't know what to think.
Wayne Tormala: I think you need to keep it simple. Most men, if they can get out for 20 to 30 minutes, elevating their heart rate a bit almost every day, that's sufficient. You don't have to run the marathon or lift 200 pounds in the gym. The main thing is to be active. We like to tell men, find something you like to do. What's fun? Is it walking the dog in the morning? Taking the steps instead of the elevator? Parking a little farther from the office door so you walk a little longer.
Ted Simons: Worse than national average with stroke, obesity, blood pressure, heavy drinks. Is there something about Arizona that attracts? Is it because it's so hot we're so doggone tired?
Wayne Tormala: There's something to be said for a sedentary lifestyle. When it's hot we're taking the car everywhere. The city is spread out, many men don't really live that close. You don't walk to the grocery store to get your food like you might in many places around the world. The spread-out geography. You gotta get in a car or on a bus station. Screen time, computers, TV, not to mention the Blackberry and everything else.
Ted Simons: How far -- I don't want to go too far afield but we hear so much in Arizona especially about watching your kids around water. Every year there are kids that wind up drowning. You get this information out. Your information is good information, a good warning sign. But it doesn't seem like these numbers move a heck of a lot. Is there a way to get this information out or to make it stick?
Wayne Tormala: Part of what we do, getting on the media like this and getting the word out. We also work at local networks. Who do men listen to each other and to their kids. If you can get the message in the mouths of the kids. Many men will say I finally quit smoking when my daughter asked me to quit smoking. They expect health officials and everybody else to talk about the dangers of tobacco. When your child comes up to you, it makes a big difference in your life. We try to get those trusted messengers. Who I listen to in my life, who's going to make me change my behavior. If we can get the message out on that level, we feel like we can make a difference.
Ted Simons: So what do you want Arizona men to take from these numbers what do you want Arizona men to take from the website? What's the websiteaddress again?
Wayne Tormala: Well we have two Eatwellbewell.org, and ashline.org for tobacco cessation, to quit smoking. I want men to know that there's silent killers within. If they don't go to the doctor every year and get their blood checked and find out what's going on, if they wait until they actually feel bad, a lot of times it makes the situation much more hard to manage.
Ted Simons: Alright, Wayne, good to have you here.
Wayne Tormala: I appreciate it.
Wayne Tormala:Men's Health coordinator, Arizona Department of Health Services;