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Prairie Fare: Men’s Replies to Nutrition and Health Survey Sometimes Surprising

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Julie Garden-Robinson, NDSU Extension Nutrition Specialist Julie Garden-Robinson, NDSU Extension Nutrition Specialist
The health issues for men of greatest concern were cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, prostate health, overweight and joint/bone health.

By Julie Garden-Robinson, Nutrition Specialist

NDSU Extension Service

A few months ago, we put out a plea for men to answer an online survey. Thanks, guys, 310 of you answered the call.

Our purpose was to determine the health and nutrition topics of interest among men and ways men prefer to receive health-related information. We also collected some demographic information, such as age and living situation.

Our ultimate goal is to develop educational materials to best fit the needs of men.

As I waited for men to respond to the survey, one of my male friends gave me a couple of men’s health-related magazines he had purchased to occupy his time during a long flight. I was curious to read the approach writers take when creating health materials for men.

I must say that I learned a great deal from those magazines, although very little of my enlightenment had to do with nutrition. For some reason, some of my women friends found the magazines very entertaining. The magazines kept disappearing and I’d track them down by listening for giggles.

When we reached a sample size of at least 300, I summarized the results. Our survey participants ranged in age from college age (18 to 25) to more than 76. About 56 percent reported they were overweight. Twenty percent reported they lived alone. About 38 percent of our participants reported they make the food-buying decisions in their households.

The health issues of greatest concern were cancer, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, prostate health, overweight and joint/bone health.

About 44 percent indicated they visit a health-care professional annually and 17 percent reported they visited a health-care professional every two years. Another 23 percent indicated they visit a health-care provider only when they’re sick. The rest were somewhere in between when it came to scheduling healthcare appointments.

Considering those numbers, the next statistic was a little surprising. Face-to-face conversations with health professionals ranked No. 1 as the preferred way of learning about nutrition and health.

Considering the frequency our participants reported visiting a health-care provider and figuring in the length of most appointments, that’s not much time for learning about nutrition and health.

Web site fact sheets ranked No. 2 as the preferred way to learn about nutrition and health. Men indicated preferences for topics such as cardiovascular workouts, walking/running for fitness, weight training, specific nutritional needs of men, protein, fiber and carbohydrates and a healthy diet, quick recipes and eye health.

The next result is particularly relevant for wives or significant others to read: These people ranked No. 3 as the preferred way to learn about nutrition and health, putting them ahead of classes, conversations with friends, workshops, TV, radio and the other sources of information on our list.

About 74 percent of our participants indicated they were “interested” or “very interested” in making lifestyle changes to potentially extend their lives. About 68 percent were “willing” or “very willing” to make changes. Some commented that they also wanted to improve the quality, not only the quantity, of their lives.

With these results in place, we have some work cut out for us. Web site fact sheets ranked high, so they’ll certainly be a priority.

Since quick recipes and fiber are topics of interest for men, here’s a fiber-rich whole- wheat pizza crust to enjoy instead of regular pizza crust. The recipe is from the Wheat Foods Council at www.wheatfoods.org.

Sometimes small dietary tweaks can make a big health difference. Gentlemen, start your ovens.

Quick Whole-wheat Pizza Crust

2 c. whole wheat flour

1 package active dry yeast/instant yeast

3/4 tsp. salt

1 c. hot tap water (120 to125 F)

1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

1 Tbsp. honey or granulated sugar

Stir whole-wheat flour before measuring. Lightly spoon into a measuring cup and level flour. In large mixing bowl, combine whole wheat flour, yeast and salt. Blend in water, oil and honey or sugar. Stir by hand vigorously until all ingredients are well-mixed, about three minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise to desired size. Place dough in greased 15- by 10- by 1-inch jellyroll pan or 12- to 14-inch pizza pan. Press dough to cover bottom of pan and up the sides to form a rim. Add pizza sauce of your choice and your favorite pizza toppings. Bake in a preheated 425-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and toppings are done.

Makes eight servings. The nutrition information will vary based on the toppings you choose. For the crust only, one slice has 146 calories, 27 grams (g) of carbohydrate, 4 g of fiber and 2 g of fat.

(Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., L.R.D., is a North Dakota State University Extension Service food and nutrition specialist and associate professor in the Department of Health, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences.)


NDSU Agriculture Communication

Source:Julie Garden-Robinson, (701) 231-7187, julie.garden-robinson@ndsu.edu
Editor:Rich Mattern, (701) 231-6136, richard.mattern@ndsu.edu
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