They'll watch a ballgame, mow the lawn, wash the car, putter around the house and often never find the time to make that all-important appointment for an annual checkup. Does this sound like a man you might know? Maybe your father, son, brother or husband? June is Men's Health Month making it a great time to remind the men you know to get checked out.
Men's Health Month is promoted by Men's Health Network (MHN), a national non-profit organization. They point out that "an ongoing, increasing and predominantly silent crisis is the health and well-being of men." Some of the main reasons for this crisis are lack of awareness, poor health education, and as MHN puts it, "culturally induced behavior patterns in their work and personal lives."
Men's Health Network Vice President Ana Fadich tells Angel MedFlight air ambulance, "It is a well-known fact that men tend to ignore health messages. Data shows that men go to the doctor 100% less than women. Having a month of the year set apart specifically for health care providers, public policy makers, the media, churches, and other groups to target men with health messages especially crafted to fit their needs, it increases the chances of success in reaching and moving them to action."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is a five-year life-expectancy gap between men and women. In addition to avoiding doctors, men tend to smoke and drink more.
There isn't one particular health issue facing men but there are a number of factors that contribute to their silent health crisis. For instance, a higher percentage of men have no healthcare coverage, society discourages healthy behaviors in men and boys; and research on male-specific diseases is underfunded. In addition, men statistically are also employed in the most dangerous occupations, such as mining, fire fighting, construction and fishing. The CDC says the top three causes of death for men are heart disease, cancer and accidents.
Fadich is confident the five-year life-expectancy gap between men and women can be closed. In order to do that, she says the aforementioned factors need to be addressed. "Getting more men insured under the Affordable Care Act, encouraging them to go to healthcare appointments for prevention, offering proper health education at work when engaged in dangerous tasks, by changing attitudes as a society and start paying attention to them, and by engaging in new types of research concerning men."
Men's Health Month grew out of National Men's Health Week, which was sponsored by Senator Bob Dole and Congressman Bill Richardson. The bill passed through Congress and was signed into law on May 31, 1994. Men's Health Week is recognized during the week leading up to and including Father's Day.
What can you do to help men in your life during Men's Health Month? Understand that men tend to ignore the warning signs of health issues. So if you're that man's spouse, child or friend, do them a favor and encourage them to see a healthcare provider in June. Or better yet, as the MHN says, "set the appointment for them."