Taking Aim for Men’s Health

OTTERVILLE ON – Grey skies gave way to sunshine and balmy temperatures as 80 eager participants joined the Southern Ontario Aboriginal Diabetes Initiative for their golf tournament Taking Aim Fore Men’s Health at Otterville Creek Golf Club this past Friday.

Mitch Baird, Communications Manager from SOADI, said the goal of the tournament was to present men’s health information in a way that would be interesting to attendees. Frontline workers ran information stations at 4 or 5 of the holes on the course, with interactive presentations on nutrition, exercise, neuropathy, retinopathy and erectile dysfunction. Participants were given passports to fill out at each of the information stations which in the end, could be redeemed for a prize ballot.

“I think men like a little more interactive teaching” Baird said, “You know, they learn by being shown and by more physical resources. And just getting a chance to play a beautiful course like Otter Creek really attracts a lot of people, so between all of those things I think the event was really a success.”

In addition to the activities, guests were later treated to a keynote address by renowned Indigenous hockey coach Ted Nolan, who shared some personal stories about his own health struggles.

“He had a very stressful job and was working with the Sabres, and like any high profile athlete or coach it’s a stressful life. He noticed that his blood sugar was quite high and he had a bit of a scare. He said he made some lifestyle changes. He lost quite a bit of weight and feels a ton better.” Baird said, before adding “For an older man he’s a really good role model. That’s what we need in the community is these guys who are successful on and off the field.”

Nolan also spoke about the value of passing on health teachings to young men, which to Baird is key to the prevention of diabetes.

“The thing we notice in our work is that men tend to not worry about their health until it’s too late, and a lot of that is because they can still do their jobs. If they can get up and go to work and do what they need to do, then that to them means that they are ok. They don’t really start to worry about it until they can’t produce or perform anymore. That’s when they start to worry and sometimes that can be a little bit late. So we have to catch this stuff a little sooner.”

The tournament often took a humorous spin on educating participants on the signs and symptoms of health problems, which Baird felt made certain topics a little more approachable.

“We didn’t leave anything off the table. Erectile Dysfunction, we talked about everything in a fun way. That starts the conversation. They might joke about erectile dysfunction when they are at the tournament, but when they start to reflect a day or two after they might say ‘Hey, maybe that’s something I should think about’”.

Adding to the humour at the event was comedian Herbie Barnes, who provided some comic relief during prize giveaways. His improv comedy troupe expertly wove diabetes information into their sketch which had the crowd in stitches.

“That’s what you want – guys are there to have a laugh.” Baird said “They’re there to have fun with their friends. A lot of these conferences can be very serious. Diabetes is a serious issue, but the way to prevent it can be fun.”

The tournament also included a healthy dinner which included nutritious traditional foods. Roast chicken, wild rice casserole, and roasted root vegetables and a small dessert of sorbet and fresh blueberries were enjoyed by nearly 120 guests.

“The guys at Otter Creek did a great job” said Baird, before adding “The meal reflected what we were trying to talk about that day. Eat nutritionally and you will probably be alright.”

Those looking to get in on the fun will have to wait till next year – SOADI will be celebrating their 15th annual event in 2016. To stay updated on future events you can visit their website at www.soadi.ca.

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