Dad or father figure? | News, Sports, Jobs


When you’re younger, it’s much easier to take the time to exercise or find ways to make physical activity part of your day. Plus, your metabolism tends to be on your side to help take care of junk food or those late night cravings. Sadly, ultimately, the active college lifestyle is a thing of the past, and softball, volleyball and kickball teams are giving way to toddlers, diapers and early bedtime. Enter – what society now calls the father’s body or father figure.

Why it’s not always a bad thing, here are some tips for you to be able to follow kids no matter your age.

What is Papa Bod?

Men tend to be more physically active in their teens and twenties in their teens and twenties, but after those first two decades exercise habits seem to slow down or when men begin to start families.

It is common for men to gain weight in their 30s until they are around 55 years old. Then we tend to see men between 55 and 65 having a stable weight again. After 65 years of age, many men experience weight loss due to the loss of muscle mass.

Three other main causes lead to daddy’s body:

• Slowing of metabolism

• Decreased muscle mass

• Bad eating habits

One of the perks of realizing you have a father’s body is admitting that your bodily habits are not ideal for long-term health. When men have families, we tend to shift our priorities to long-term thinking. Some men will find that if they don’t change their body shape, they might find it difficult to enjoy their child’s activities, retirement, or even grandchildren.

It is a very decent and loving thing to give up the personal time you might have spent exercising and instead spend it with your family. But, at some point, there is a cost.

When does daddy Bod go too far?

The two biggest risks of having an increased body mass index (BMI) are heart disease and diabetes.

An increase in abdominal weight is a sign of type 2 diabetes. This extra fat can also enter the liver and cause fatty liver disease, which can inhibit its function.

If you have a father, talk to your doctor. A few minor changes can go a long way. Your doctor will consider your lifestyle, medications, and medical history before making any recommendations.

However, four things I commonly suggest:

• Eat smaller portions. Try to stop eating when you are about 80 percent full. Consider speaking with a dietitian if you need extra support or close monitoring of your calorie intake.

• Eat quality foods. Try to stock up on plant foods as they tend to be high in nutrients, but generally have lower calorie counts. Limit processed foods and added sugars in the diet. As a general rule of thumb, I recommend buying most foods around the grocery store.

• Avoid over-the-counter supplements. Don’t look to supplements for an easy fix. The supplements are not evaluated by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) for safety and long term side effects. Sometimes liver damage can occur from over-the-counter supplements, especially testosterone or “fat burners.”

• Move. You should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. If you are not currently exercising, start slowly and build up to your tolerance. For example, you can set an initial goal of exercising for 10 to 15 minutes once or twice a week, and then increase gradually. It can often be difficult to set aside time for exercise when you have a family. Try to get the most out of it by combining exercise with family time. For example, I often take my kids with me for running, hiking, swimming and going to the gym. They tend to like it and you set a good example for them.

From dad to dad and man to man – if you haven’t had a checkup in a while, don’t let this month go by without making an appointment. And if something is wrong, get it checked out – don’t wait!

Dr. Joe Larson practices at UnityPoint Health Family Medicine – Kenyon Road

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