President's Rx: Men's Health

Just like getting a haircut or a close shave at your favorite barbershop can help you look your best, keeping up with regular doctor's appointments can help you feel your best. Unfortunately, men are more likely to develop a close relationship with their barber than with a physician.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men are 80% less likely than women to use a regular source of health care. In fact, most men confess they only see a doctor when they are sick or have an emergency.

Although sometimes it is difficult to find the time to schedule time at the doctor's office, preventative appointments can help prevent serious conditions including cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.

Here are some other ways men, in particular, can take better care of themselves:

· Buckle up. Seatbelts cut your odds of injury.

· Keep firearms locked away. Store your guns separately from ammunition.

· Practice safe sex.

· Exercise regularly. A well-balanced program includes cardiovascular exercise, strength training and stretching.

· Eat right. Include at least five servings of fruits and vegetables in your daily routine.

· Know your numbers: Cholesterol. Blood pressure. Blood sugar. Weight.

· Don't smoke or drink heavily.

· Don't drink and drive.

· Don't be at the wrong places at the wrong time. Late-night carousing easily can lead to poor judgment.

· Watch your weight.

· Don't let your mind get lazy. Learn a language or do a crossword puzzle.

There are no good reasons to avoid taking care of your health. As this new year begins, make an appointment for a checkup and start building a relationship with a doctor.