December 6, 2019

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Manitoba men among Canada's unhealthiest

Just in time for Father’s Day, a new national study says Manitoba is home to some of the unhealthiest men in Canada.

The survey of 2,000 Canadian men between the ages of 19 and 94 counted their bad habits, including a poor diet, smoking cigarettes, problem drinking, not exercising or not getting regular sleep.

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Personal trainer Paul Dyck helps his father, Lorne Dyck, exercise at Starke CrossFit.</p>


Personal trainer Paul Dyck helps his father, Lorne Dyck, exercise at Starke CrossFit.

The Canadian Men’s Health Foundation survey showed that 72 per cent of Canadian men regularly demonstrate more than two unhealthy habits.

In Manitoba and Saskatchewan, 78.6 per cent of men had two or more unhealthy habits. They also scored highest for cigarette smoking, unhealthy eating and lack of exercise, the survey said.

Personal trainer Paul Dyck isn’t sure why Manitoba men are among the unhealthiest in Canada, but he hopes the findings will get people here moving and do something active with their dad on Father’s Day.

"Move it or lose it," said Dyck who has a private gym by the north Perimeter Highway. He and his siblings often take their dad, Lorne Dyck, for a round of golf on Father’s Day.

"It’s the best thing you could do if you love your parents: get them up and moving and doing something," he said.

"Movement is medicine," said Dyck, whose dad recently had knee-replacement surgery and is doing workouts with his son.

Lifestyle and behaviour, which can be changed, are responsible for 70 per cent of men’s chronic health conditions, said Joe Rachert, program director for the non-profit Canadian Men’s Health Foundation in Vancouver.

"You can change, as a guy, to prevent that," Rachert said. "Let’s work with men at improving lifestyle."

Many health studies focus on disease, said Rachert. "This is about men’s behaviour." The foundation commissioned the study in time for Canadian Men’s Health Week in the run up to Father’s Day. It includes a website showing how small behaviour changes can make a big difference.

Like not ordering a "smorgasbord" of beers, offered Dyck, who sees people over-indulging all the time on the internet.

"I see a lot more posts on social media with people getting a smorgasbord of 50 types of beer," he laughed, exaggerating a flight of beer samples. Cutting back on booze and simply choosing a side salad instead of fries at a restaurant helps, he said. So does filling the grocery cart with more single-ingredient items such as fruit, vegetables and meat than processed foods, said Dyck.

Different things motivate men to get healthy, said the Starke CrossFit owner. For some, it’s a dire warning from their doctor to get in shape. For others, it’s the discovery of how much better they feel after they’ve worked up a sweat. Whatever spurs them on, the reward is an improved quality of life and keeping chronic illness in check, said Dyck.

"It’s something you’re going to have a better chance of fighting off," he said. "And when you’re fitter and healthier, you’re going to notice if there’s a decline — an early sign that something is going on and ‘I should get it checked.’"

Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders’ reporting on newcomers to Canada has made international headlines, earned national recognition but most importantly it’s shared the local stories of the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home.

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Updated on Monday, June 11, 2018 at 11:02 AM CDT: adds photo

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