Father’s Day usually conjures up images of ugly ties, homemade crafts from the kids, and, probably dad's favorite, barbecued meat and beer. But, according to the Center for Disease Control nearly 70% of adult American males are overweight. One in four U.S. men die from heart disease, in part caused by poor diet, inactivity and obesity. Honoring dad with gluttonous rituals of steak and alcohol is akin to celebrating your dog by letting it chase cars; he may enjoy it at the time but it’s not going to end well.
A better way to tell your father you love him is by trying to extend his life rather than shorten it. In the attached video cardiothoracic surgeon, author, and television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz offers three healthy alternatives to the “grilled meat and sloth” Father’s Day tradition.
1. Get Physical
"The most important thing to do if you want your dad to live a long time is to go out and play with him," says Dr. Oz in the attached video. Have a catch, take a swim, go on a bike ride or just walk around the neighborhood. Dr. Oz says anything that gets the blood pumping counts, even if it's outside of dad’s comfort zone.
"Dancing counts by the way," he insists, "As bad a dancer as he may be, as awkward as it might sound go out and get him moving."
2. Healthy Apps
There are thousands of apps that encourage healthy habits. Dr. Oz suggests finding one, just one, that will help dad on a day-to-day basis. It could be an exercise monitor or calorie tracker. There are apps that work as pedometers. There are even motion detecting apps that will track dad's sleep cycles to help make sure his mind and body are getting the rest they need.
How do you find the right one? Dr. Oz says to go by popularity in app stores. "Forget about the medical validity for now. Let's focus first on whether or not they're easy to use and that way he'll enjoy using them and you'll be introducing him to a whole different way of taking care of his health that his generation didn't have access to."
3. Calculate Real Age
Dr. Oz is working with the government and private investors on a website called AskMD.com. He says the goal is creating a simple but sophisticated source for patient specific medical questions.
AskMD.com won’t be up and running until this fall. In the meantime Dr. Oz suggests having dad take the Real Age test at DoctorOz.com. There comes a point in every dad’s life when chronological age only serves to remind him he’s old. “Figure out how old his body thinks he is; that’s’ a much better way to have him keep track of the age difference between you and him.”
These three alternatives to a six-pack of beer and half a pound of red meat will make for a constructive Sunday but they aren’t enough. Eventually dad is going to have to start getting regular check-ups.
Nearly all father’s know the importance of getting a physical annually at the very least. Unfortunately the most recent census data shows that 1/3 of adult males in the U.S. haven’t seen a doctor in more than a year.
Telling dad what he should do isn’t going to get him to the doctor. “People don’t change what they do based on what they know, they change what they do based on how they feel,” says Dr. Oz.
So Dr. Oz has given America another worthwhile Father’s Day tradition: Make dad feel loved and important in your life. When it comes to making a man take care of himself a feeling that comes from his spiritual heart is more likely to get him to the doctor than pain in his physical chest.