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Building Awareness and Commitment for a Better World

father and son smiling at the camera

Most people are aware of the special Sunday in June called Father’s Day. It’s been a national holidays since 1972. But did you know that this tribute to fatherhood can be traced back to 1910 in Spokane, Washington?

In my January 2021 AgeWise article, I reflected briefly on my father-in-law as well as my grandfather but did not mention that I am a father myself and I became a grandfather this past year. My grandchild gives me great joy and is my strongest reason yet to work to better our world. I dream of a world in which my grandchild and all children have clean air and water, decent housing, sufficient food, ready healthcare, high-quality education, and the freedom to live without fear.

We all want our kids and our grandkids to be healthy and happy. This Father’s Day, I’m thinking about the ways in which those wishes sometimes don’t come true, and how I (and we) can change the scenario for those in need. This thought will continue to drive my involvement with the ADS Advisory Council and other boards on which I serve, and my commitment to equity and respect for Asian, Black, Brown, and Indigenous peoples.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s webpage on Achieving Racial Equity provides multiple resources that help explain how health outcomes are influenced by race and other social determinants of health. It also lists ways in which people can act and promote equity. I hope you will follow the link and think about what you can do, keeping our next generation in mind.

June is International Men’s Health Month and June 14–20 is International Men’s Health Week—both designed to bring  greater awareness of the importance of a healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, and medical check-ups.

On average, men live five years less than women. Native American and African American men have the lowest life expectancies. Healthy lifestyle and early detection of male health problems can help reduce mortality due to disease. Fathers who maintain a healthy lifestyle are role models for their children, and their children live happier, healthier lives.

Men, please talk with your health care provider about diabetes, heart disease, mental health, and prostate, testicular, and colon cancer. Prior to that, it’s a good idea to collect related health history information from parents, siblings, and first cousins. Some talk about disease openly but many do not; plus, it’s easy to forget health information about previous generations. Pass this information on to your loved ones.

To all who nurture a child, grandchild, or other young person, I hope you will commit to improving your own health and theirs. To everyone, I hope you will commit to doing something every day to create a better world for all.


Dick WooContributor Dick Woo chairs the Seattle-King County Advisory Council on Aging & Disability Services. He welcomes input from readers via e-mail (advisorychair@agewisekingcounty.org) as well as applicants for open positions on the council. For more information, visit www.agingkingcounty.org/advisory-council.


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