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Men's Health Week kicks off with health fair

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Seventy-five percent of African-American males who have a stroke will die, according to the American Stroke Association.

Diabetes will show up in 10.5 percent of men over the age of 20, and males make up 52.4 percent of people with diabetes, according to data provided by the American Diabetes Association.

The chances of a man developing prostate cancer are 33 percent higher than a woman's chances of having breast cancer, according to the Georgia Prostate Cancer Coalition.

The life expectancy of a man is 75 years, compared to 80 years for a woman, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Stroke, diabetes and prostate cancer make up three of the biggest threats to the health of men across the United States, and men live shorter lives than women because males are reluctant to go to the doctor for regular examinations, said Rick Cooper, a health promotion specialist for the Clayton County Board of Health.

"A lot of men won't go to see a doctor unless they are having a stroke, or a heart attack, or they have been seriously injured," Cooper said. "There is this aura of machismo. It's like it's unfashionable to admit you've got a problem."

The second annual Clayton County Men's Health Week kicked off Monday with a health fair and reception at the Clayton County Board of Health. The local celebration is part of a national observance, which puts the spotlight on health threats to men, while encouraging males to take better care of their bodies.

Men's Health Week will continue today with a senior men's health awareness day from 10 a.m., to noon at the Frank Bailey Senior Center, 6213 Riverdale Rd., Riverdale.

Jonesboro resident, Fea Reed, 64, has survived two strokes and developed diabetes. As he visited the board of health on Monday, Reed took time to look through brochures available at the men's health fair and talk with Cooper. Reed later reflected on health issues and he had some advice for younger men to help them live healthier lives.

"Don't smoke, don't drink, develop good eating habits, exercise regularly, watch your cholesterol, and don't eat any sugars," Reed said.

Fellow Jonesboro resident, Austin Butler, 18, said he was more concerned about sports injuries than diabetes or strokes. The former Jonesboro High School wrestler said there are multiple benefits to living a healthy lifestyle. "You feel better," he said. "You're also stronger and look better when you diet and exercise."

Butler already takes steps to protect his health by working out frequently and following a strict diet because of his desire to stay in top physical condition for sports.

Locally, Men's Health Week is sponsored by the board of health; Clayton Collaborative Authority; Clayton Center; Clayton County Parks and Recreation; Clayton County Transitional Center; Clayton Youth Detention Center; Clayton County Chamber of Commerce; the City of Riverdale; U.S. Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.); New Birth South Community Impact Center; Morehouse College School of Medicine; Black Men's Health Network; the Frank Bailey Senior Center; Georgia Black United Fund; Village Keepers, Inc.; Energy Fitness; Business Smarts, LLC.

Other events which will mark Men's Health Week include:

· Health screenings for Clayton County employees on Thursday, from 11 a.m., to 2 p.m. at the V.I.P. complex at Clayton County International Park in Jonesboro.

· A men's health symposium on Friday, from 7 p.m., to 9 p.m. at Riverdale City Hall, 6690 Church St., Riverdale.

· A health fair on Saturday, from 10 a.m., to 2 p.m., at the Riverdale Wal-Mart, 7050 Hwy. 85, Riverdale.

· A youth health awareness celebration on Saturday, from 2 p.m., to 6 p.m., at the Adolescent Health Center, 685 Forest Pkwy, Forest Park.

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On the net:

Clayton County Board of Health: http://www.co.clayton.ga.us/health/

Centers for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/

Georgia Prostate Cancer Coalition: http://www.georgiapcc.org/

American Diabetes Association: http://www.diabetes.org/

American Stroke Association: http://www.strokeassociation.org/