Communities around the globe are recognizing June as Men’s Health Month, an annual awareness period solely dedicated to education and activities on the health and wellness of men and boys.
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 five years longer than men and are less likely to die from eight of the top ten causes of death in the U.S.
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 men 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.
Men’s Health Month is credited with the increase in awareness and wellness activities for boys and men in all areas of the public and private sectors, resulting in better health outcomes and longer life expectancy.
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.
“Men’s Health Month is an essential component in helping to educate the public in health disparities between men and women. Men continue to have fewer regular doctor visits than women, and are less likely to have health insurance,” said Ana Fadich, VP of Men’s Health Network.
“As we know from our online screening program, many men seek help online for mental
health concerns—often for the first time. However, too often, men avoid the topic of mental health due to the conflicting viewpoints about masculinity, sensitivity, and emotional health,” said Paul Gionfriddo, President and CEO of Mental Health America. “This month and every month, it's important for men of all ages to address their mental health before crisis stage.”
While the health and wellness of men has improved significantly since Men’s Health Month was first celebrated, new data from the National Center for Health Statistics reports that the life expectancy for certain segments of men has declined, emphasizing the continuing need to reach out to boys and men with awareness campaigns and encourage them to become proactive with their health care needs.
Men's Health Month is a great opportunity to raise awareness on the importance of
preventative screenings. Together we can engage, educate and empower men and the people who care for them on the importance of preventative screening tests and regular checkups.
“You can’t address a health issue without knowing it exists. Almost all of the health problems facing men are preventable. Problems stemming from health have a negative impact on the community as a whole — it causes the destruction of families,” said Jean Bonhomme, MD, Founder of the National Black Men’s Health Network. “Education and awareness through efforts like Men’s Health Month are essential in getting men to be more engaged in their health.”
This year, Wear BLUE Day is Friday, June 19. 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.