Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Men, here's a friendly reminder about making healthy choices

I strolled into my neighborhood Publix to grab a couple of items last month and ended up talking to a complete stranger.

He looked in my cart and saw a loaf of honey wheat bread that delivers a whopping 70 calories a slice.

"Hey, what are you doing with that?" he asked incredulously. "This is what you should buy," he added, grabbing a loaf that boasted 40 calories a slice. "I've learned so much about nutrition since I got diagnosed with diabetes.

"We've got to look out for each other."

The whole moment brought to mind the Men's Health Forum that Moffitt Cancer Center will present at the University of South Florida's Marshall Center on March 17.

First and foremost, the forum strives to fill a gap for the uninsured and the under-insured, offering free screenings for a laundry list of potential problems including blood pressure, body mass index, cholesterol, diabetes, lung function, hepatitis and skin cancer.

The forum, in English and Spanish, also offers seminars and an information session for those who want a voucher for a prostate examination. A comedian will begin the morning with a little entertainment, and some of the more than 100 volunteers will serve a free breakfast and lunch for the nearly 1,000 attendees.

Yes, it's free.

However, there's an intangible even more valuable.

In my previous visits to the forum, camaraderie proved to be as much a part of the event as doctors and tests. I still remember huddling under an umbrella on a rainy day with former Bucs defensive end Council Rudolph as we waited to enter a mobile clinic.

An unspoken bond and sense of responsibility connected the men, largely because they made the decision to take charge of their health.


Too often, the day-to-day focus and sense of invincibility clouds the judgment of men and leaves them plowing ahead with stubbornness, naivete or apathy. It's a challenge the forum sought to address when Bob Samuels started the program in 2000, and it remains a focus now that Moffitt officials have assumed the reins.

"Even in my own home, I make an appointment for my husband," said Nikki Ross Inda, who coordinates a healthy kids program for Moffitt and is helping with publicity for the forum. "He goes to the doctor, but I set the standard."

So often, it's the woman behind the man who drives him to make his health a priority, and hopefully that will be the case again with the forum. In these tough economic times, men who are compelled to work two jobs, suffered a reduction in benefits or who are unemployed all deal with the notion that job and income deserve a higher priority.

But you can't help anyone else unless you help yourself.

Admittedly, room for improvement exists with my own health choices. I'm actually going to work out with the co-hosts of Community Conversations, the weekly health-oriented radio show that airs every Saturday on WTBN (AM 910 and AM 570) from 10 a.m. to noon.

I publish that not to boast, but to put pressure on myself to actually follow through. If I put it in print, I have to do it, right?

And in case you're wondering, I am eating the lower-calorie bread. It's pretty good.

In the end, the new friend I met at Publix couldn't have been more accurate.

We do need to look out for each other.

That's all I'm saying.

Men, here's a friendly reminder about making healthy choices 03/08/12 [Last modified: Thursday, March 8, 2012 3:30am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Jameis Winston's hardest lesson: He can't always save the day


    TAMPA — Ever wonder what in the world goes through Jameis Winston's mind when he tries to fit the ball in a keyhole as he is being dragged to the turf like he was during Thursday night's 12-8 preseason win over the Jaguars?

    JACKSONVILLE, FL - AUGUST 17:  Jameis Winston #3 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers attempts a pass during a preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars at EverBank Field on August 17, 2017 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images) 700069805
  2. Despite pain, woman in court faces ex-boyfriend who lit her on fire



    Sheron Pasco sat in the wheelchair as her mother pushed it toward the man in the orange jail suit.

    Sheron Pasco, 39, right, along with her mother Tranda Webb, 62, pose for a photograph Wednesday, at their home in Port Richey. Pasco's former boyfriend John Riggins doused Pasco with gasoline and set her on fire after an argument last year.. CHRIS URSO   |   Times

  3. Florida starter under center still under wraps


    GAINESVILLE — With two weeks before Florida opens its season against Michigan, the Gators' three-way quarterback battle remains wide open.

    Luke Del Rio, right, is in the mix to start against Michigan in the season opener … as is Malik Zaire and Feleipe Franks.
  4. A sports rout on Wall Street


    NEW YORK — Sporting goods retailers can't shake their losing streak.

  5. Rick Kriseman picks Floribbean restaurant for Manhattan Casino

    Local Government

    ST. PETERSBURG— Mayor Rick Kriseman has chosen a controversial restaurant concept to occupy the Manhattan Casino, saying he made a decision 11 days before the mayoral primary because he didn't want politics to get in the way of progress in struggling Midtown.

    Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson speaks during a Friday press conference announcing that the Callaloo Group will open a Floribbean restraurant in the historic Manhattan Casino in St. Petersburg's Midtown neighborhood. Some residents were upset with Mayor Rick Kriseman's choice, saying it will speed up gentrification of the area. [EVE EDELHEIT   |   Times]