We all know that men visit their doctor less often than women, but did you know that, according to a 2014 survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men are 50% less likely than women to have visited a doctor during the course of a two-year period. Additionally, men are three times more likely to admit going five years without a visit and twice as likely to admit that, as an adult, they had never seen a doctor or health professional. The result? While a number of factors are probably involved—men tend to take a greater number of risks, and have more dangerous professions than women—women on average, live seven years longer than men and are less likely to die from eight of the top ten causes of death in the U.S.
With statistics like these in mind, President Bill Clinton signed a bill in 1994 recognizing the third week in June as National Men’s Health Week. Celebrating men’s health throughout the month of June quickly followed suit. The goal of Men’s Health Month is to “heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among me and boys.” Men’s Health Month also presents many groups and organizations, such as health care providers, public policy makers, the media, corporations and individuals, with the opportunity to urge both men and boys to obtain regular medical advice and early treatment for diseases and injuries.
Awareness – Prevention – Education – Family
It is always important to be aware of the lifestyle choices we make and the way those choices impact the quality of our lives long term. Raising awareness means…
- Consciously making healthy lifestyle choices that positively affect the foods you eat and the amount of daily exercise you get.
- Scheduling regular annual visits with your doctor or primary care professional. Many health conditions can be prevented or detected early with regular checkups and screenings.
- Educating yourself about the diseases that disproportionately affect men—diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease
- Starting basic healthcare conversations with your friends and family and discussing the health issues that you encounter.
This year, Wear BLUE Day is Friday, June 16. Wear BLUE Day was created by the Men’s Health Network with the twin goals of raising awareness about men’s need to seek regular check-ups and of raising money for education about diseases such as testicular cancer, prostate cancer and the other health issues that primarily affect men. “Wear BLUE Day is celebrated by private corporations, government agencies, sports teams, and individuals to show their concern for the health and wellbeing of boys and men.”
For more access to men’s health resources or for more information on Wear BLUE, National Men’s Health Week and National Men’s Health Month, please visit: www.menshealthmonth.org or the Men’s Health Network at: www.menshealthnetwork.org.